Frontline agents of globalisation: the German merchant community in Glasgow, 1840s to 1914

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During the second half of the nineteenth century, a German business community of about one hundred merchants and commercial clerks developed in Glasgow. Their trade networks extended not only to Germany but also to other world markets. The main arguments and findings of the microhistorical analysis include: numbers were significantly higher than previously assumed; endogenous recruitment based on ethnic and family ties was prevalent; migrants benefited from their migration-induced social capital (training, languages, intercultural competence) to fill a skills-gap in Britain; labour market competition at the junior career level was less pronounced than contemporaneous assessments suggested; naturalisation was taken out for purely pragmatic reasons; there was a sense of community at intra-ethnic level, but also with the local business elite. The case study is embedded into the larger context of Anglo-German economic relations and globalisation. A purely local perspective does not suffice to do justice to the wider significance of expatriate business communities in an age of economic globalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-196
Number of pages16
JournalZeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


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