From Ethnic to Class: Evolution of Korean Entrepreneurship in Argentina

Kim, Jihye orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4254-7114 (2021) From Ethnic to Class: Evolution of Korean Entrepreneurship in Argentina. Korean Studies Journal, 45 . pp. 36-61. ISSN 0145-840X

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Since the beginning of Korean migration to Argentina in the 1960s, ethnic Koreans in Argentina have been intensively involved in the garment industry. Based on archival and documentary research, along with ethnographic research conducted in Argentina, this study examines what kinds of resources Korean immigrants have relied upon to start up and expand their businesses and how these resources have changed over time. The study reveals that in the development of their garment businesses, Korean entrepreneurs have strategically tapped into ethnic networks and resources to achieve economic viability, financial support, and eventual upward mobility within the Argentine garment industry. Yet the relative importance of these resources to Korean entrepreneurs and their level of dependence on them varies according to settlement stages and circumstances. Findings further suggest that whereas most Koreans have remained closely tied to one particular economic sector, ethnic resources should not be considered an absolute condition for the establishment and development of Korean garment businesses, but rather one of the available resources that facilitates this process, in most cases.

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