Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnofrafii   1 (52)  2021



I prefer to work for myself: the entrepreneurship for migrants from Central Asia in a Siberian city (the case study of Tomsk)  

Dzhanyzakova S.D. (Tomsk, Russian Federation)


             page 188195


Together with educational migrants, foreign citizens from Central Asian republics come to Tomsk for the purpose of earning, focusing on construction business, market trade, and wage labour and entrepreneurship services. The article presents three cases of business activities of labour migrants in Tomsk. Field data was collected in 2016 and 20182019. Research methods include biographical interviews of migrants from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in their workplace, and ethnographic observation of their enterprise. As a result, the main pathways of the interviewees in entrepreneurship have been identified. It has been found that migrants accumulate experience, develop social ties, form networks around themselves, and only then they go autonomous and open their own business. Moving from one country to another, changing employment areas from unskilled hard physical labour to business ownership in Russia, they demonstrate the ability to respond flexibly to changing hosting society and market conditions. The role of Russian citizenship for opening and registration of business has also been consi-dered. As a result, the strategy of union with locals has been identified, which provides the business and its owner with social and material resources, as well as juridical legalization. A significant conclusion of the research into migrant entrepreneurship in catering, retail and provision of various types of services is that such businesses do not appear as an ethnic locale and a migrant space, but are rather integrated into the city-wide infrastructure. The activities of such spots are primarily aimed at representatives of the local population who live or work in walking distance from the enterprises. The study has revealed that ethnicity and migrant status are used by businessmen depending on the situation, yet they do organize all social networks and connections primarily through interaction with those who are easy, beneficial, whom they trust, with whom they intersect in space, which presents a problem when applying the theory of ethnic entrepreneurship to analyse the Russian case of migrant businesses.

Key words: migrants-entrepreneurs, ethnicity, migrantness, Tomsk.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 07.12.2020

Article is published: 26.02.2021


Dzhanyzakova S.D.

Tomsk State University, prosp. Lenina, 34, Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation