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Accepted Paper:

Business as a form of integration for ethnic minorities: development of mahalla based businesses in Shymkent  
Indira Alibayeva (NURCE, Nazarbayev University)


In light of the political and economic shifts following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this study examines how ethnic minority individuals, specifically the local Uzbek population of Shymkent, adapted to the emergence of a market-oriented economy. Despite facing formidable competition, including from members of the dominant ethnic group, Uzbeks managed to establish themselves in various economic sectors. Drawing on the framework of 'integration through difference' proposed by Schlee and Hortsmann (2018), which posits that reducing intergroup competition fosters social cohesion, this research investigates how such harmony was maintained in southern Kazakhstan despite intense economic rivalry. Unlike other ethnic communities who experienced significant out-migration, the majority of Shymkent's Uzbek population remained in the city, carving out a niche primarily in small business ventures and trading activities. However, merely acknowledging this occupational trend does not suffice. Thus, this paper delves into the mechanisms through which local Uzbeks entered the business sphere, exploring the specific pathways, resources, and factors that facilitated their success.

Panel T22ANT
Conceptualising Entrepreneurship: Ethnicity, Gender, Piety and other Sociocultural Aspects of Commercial Environments across Central Asia
  Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -