Migrant entrepreneurs as cosmopolitan change agents: a Bourdieuan perspective on capital accumulation

Catarina Figueira, Giorgio Caselli, Nicholas Theodorakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose : The aim of this paper is to provide novel insights into how the cosmopolitan mind-set can be fostered at a time of globalization by considering a group of social actors that has received scant attention in the literature on institutional change, notably migrant entrepreneurs.
Design/methodology/approach : This is a conceptual study that draws on Bourdieu’s theory of capital to develop a set of testable propositions as to how the economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital endowments of migrant entrepreneurs shape their agency in bringing about cosmopolitan transformation.
Findings : Together, migrant entrepreneurs endowed with higher levels of capital may act as institution reformers and promote the cosmopolitan mind-set by influencing the beliefs, incentives and behaviors of those embedded in more entrenched traditional institutions.
Research limitations/implications : Our conceptual framework deals with only one of the many agents that may help bring about cosmopolitan change and is particularly well suited to a Western European context.
Practical implications
This conceptual paper provides a number of testable propositions that can be central to an empirical investigation into how the levels of capital possessed by migrant entrepreneurs affect their engagement in cosmopolitan change.
Originality/value : The novelty of this paper lies in the development of a set of propositions that shows how divergent change toward a cosmopolitan vision might be engendered by spatially dispersed actors endowed with varying degrees of economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociety and Business Review
Issue number3
Early online date23 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016


  • cosmopolitanism
  • capital accumulation
  • globalization
  • world citizenship
  • ethnic minority
  • migrant entrepreneurship


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