Weaving Threads between the Ethnic and the Global: African Women's Entrepreneurial Ventures in Athens

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Abstract:

This article addresses hairdressing as a forum in which African women running small salons in Athens negotiate identity and raise claims to modernity. The specificity of their entrepreneurial activities lies in that they occur at a time when the incorporation of ethnic modes of adornment in Western fashion captures Greeks' interest, but prevailing policies curtail the rights of displaced populations and look down upon their traditional performances. In this sense, my analysis touches upon issues of analytical importance to the ethnography on immigration in Greece. It exemplifies how African entrepreneurs diffuse seeds of their cultural legacy in the lifestyle of otherwise dismissive hosts as well as the multiple repercussions that their involvement in a major domain of consumption have on stereotypical imageries of and attitudes towards the Other.

Keywords: AFRICAN IMMIGRANT WOMEN; CULTURAL CONSUMPTION; ENTREPRENEURSHIP; HAIRDRESSING

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ajec.2010.190210

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures relaunched in 2008 as the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

    Previously published as the Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures

    Published since 1990, AJEC engages with current debates and innovative research agendas addressing the social and cultural transformations of contemporary European societies. The Journal serves as an important forum for ethnographic research in and on Europe, which in this context is not defined narrowly as a geopolitical entity but rather as a meaningful cultural construction in people's lives, which both legitimates political power and calls forth practices of resistance and subversion. By presenting both new field studies and theoretical reflections on the history and politics of studying culture in Europe anthropologically, AJEC encompasses different academic traditions of engaging with its subject, from social and cultural anthropology to European ethnology and empirische Kulturwissenschaften.
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