“Invading” Italian Coffee Bars: Business Choice and Family Entrepreneurship of Chinese Migrants in Italy
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AbstractAs an integral part of Italian daily life, coffee and coffee bars have special symbolic meaning and social importance to Italian people. However, a quick spread of Chinese-owned coffee bars in Northern and Central Italy has been occurring over the recent years, simultaneously with the Italian economic recession. The so-called “closed” Chinese migrant communities seem to be stepping out from their familiar ethnic enclave to a new business niche, which is considered stereotypically to be the private sphere of Italian culture. Based on a fourteen-month ethnographic fieldwork in Bologna, Italy, this paper seeks to illustrate this phenomenon as an outcome of a rational decision-making of Chinese petty entrepreneurs, pushed by two forces: one is the external opportunity structure of Italian labor market and economy as a whole, the other is the internal entrepreneurship of Chinese migrant families. I will argue that managing a coffee bar is a compromise between the limited economic and social opportunities of the Chinese families, and the desire of upward economic mobility and generational transitions. This paper also seeks to contribute to further understanding of the process of social mobility of Chinese migrants in Italy and the interaction between them and the receiving society.
All Author(s) ListTING DENG
Name of ConferenceInternational and Interdisciplinary Conference "Italy and China, Europe and East Asia: Centuries of Dialogue"
Start Date of Conference07/04/2016
End Date of Conference09/04/2016
Country/Region of ConferenceCanada
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2018-09-10 at 16:55