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Work in the kebab economy: A study of the ethnic economy of Turkish immigrants in Finland

ÖSTEN WAHLBECK
Ethnicities
Vol. 7, No. 4 (December 2007), pp. 543-563
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23890658
Page Count: 21
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Abstract

Immigrants from Turkey often end up as self-employed or employees in the fast-food and restaurant sector in Finland. The concept of ethnic economy describes the employment pattern in this particular economic sector. The article suggests that substantial state involvement is not necessarily in conflict with the existence of ethnic economies, and in some instances welfare state policies may even support the creation of ethnic economies. The article discusses both positive and negative consequences of an ethnic economy for the employees in the 'kebab economy'. Since the Finnish general labour market is, for the most part, closed to immigrants, Turkish employees end up in a situation where they work under bad working conditions in kebab shops, hoping one day to be able to start their own business. The results of the study highlight the importance of the wider economic, institutional and social contexts in which immigrant businesses operate.

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