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From Passive to Active: A Multiplayer Economic Integration Process of Turkish Immigrants in Berlin

Huaikuan Liu (), Desheng Xue (), Xu Huang () and Jan Van Weesep ()
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Huaikuan Liu: School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Desheng Xue: School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Xu Huang: School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Jan Van Weesep: Department of Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3584CS, The Netherlands

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 5, 1-17

Abstract: Recently, economic integration of lower-skill immigrants in Western countries has become the most researched area in ethnic studies. Traditional studies have highlighted the influences of immigration policy and economic structure in the host society. This paradigm perceives immigrants as a passive actor in the economic integration process. Recently, more studies have paid attention to the active influence of lower-skill immigrants (e.g., informality, social and human capital accumulation, ethnic economy), presenting an academic transformation from passive to active economic integration. However, this transformation is disputed as the lower-skill immigrants’ active integration behavior does not affirmatively represent successful economic integration. Moreover, inspired by the “three-way approach” model, whether lower-skill immigrants could successfully integrate may also depend on actors beyond the natives and lower-skill immigrants (e.g., visitors). In this sense, two questions remain uncertain: (1) In the process of an active economic integration, what are the roles played by the two traditionally highlighted actors? (2) Enlightened by the “three-way approach” model, is there a third or fourth actor exerting influences in the active economic integration process? To answer these questions, from a food ethnic economy perspective, we analyzed how actors play roles in the Turkish immigrants’ economic integration process in Mitte, Berlin. Through our fieldwork observations and interviews, we concluded that (1) there are four actors in total (e.g., Turkish immigrants, Germans, non-Turkish immigrants, and transnational visitors) in the Turkish integration process, presenting a multiplayer model distinct from the traditional bi-player research framework; (2) Turkish immigrants launched the Turkish food ethnic economy through actively adjusting their ethnic food’s eating forms; (3) Germans promote the economic integration of Turkish immigrants by providing a larger market for Turkish ethnic food; and (4) non-Turkish immigrants and transnational visitors also promote the integration process through consumption.

Keywords: economic integration; ethnic economy; multiplayer; lower-skill immigrant (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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