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Becoming Spatially Embedded: Findings from a Study on Rural Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Norway



Objective: The purpose of this article is to offer a nuanced understanding of (immigrant) entrepreneurship as a socio-economic and spatially embedded practice by analysing data from a qualitative study in Finnmark, in northernmost Norway.

Research Design & Methods: The article is based on a qualitative fieldwork including business visits and in-depth interviews. The transcripts from the interviews were analysed using a constructivist grounded theory approach (CGT).

Findings: The article contributes to the entrepreneurship literature in general and to the immigrant entrepreneurship literature in particular by investigating mutual connections between immigrant entrepreneurs, place and community. The article firstly reveals that immigrants may be able to successfully create and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities literally from day one in the rural community in which they settle.

Implications & Recommendations: This study notes that immigrant entrepreneurs may contribute to building the periphery. Hence, developing our knowledge of how to increase the feeling of local belonging of immigrants may be important for many rural regions. This is because, rural immigrants not only represent a much needed inflow of younger people in a typically decreasing and ageing population, but also entail cultural variation and job creation, thus contributing to place development.

Contribution & Value Added: The originality of this article is to investigate mutual connections between immigrant entrepreneurs, place and community, hence revealing how immigrants, when being supported by the rural community, may be able to successfully create and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities in rural communities, and, through entrepreneurship processes, may even contribute to (re)build the rural areas.



immigrant entrepreneurship, local community, Northern Norway, rural context, spatial embeddedness


Supplementary File(s)


Author Biography

Mai Camilla Munkejord

Mai Camilla Munkejord is working as a Research Professor at Uni Research Rokkan Centre in Bergen, Norway, and as a Professor in Social Sciences at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Department of Child Welfare and Social Work, Alta, Norway. She holds an interdisciplinary PhD from 2009 (from UiT, The Arctic University of Norway) in rural sociology, human geography and social anthropology. She currently works with two research projects: one on rural ageing and home-based elderly care in remote parts of Norway, and one on migrant care workers in Norwegian nursing homes. She has published a book (Orkana), book chapters in Ashgate and Routledge books, as well as several articles in peer reviewed Norwegian and international journals, such as Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift, Sociologia Ruralis, Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, Journal of Enterprising Communities, Journal of Population Ageing and European Urban and Regional Studies.


May Camilla Munkejord has PhD in Cultural and Social Studies from the University of Tromso in 2009, she majored in Social Anthropology from the same place in 2002.


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