Les entrepreneurs libanais à Sao Paulo (Brésil) : une mobilité sociale ascendante

Abstract : A large segment of the Brazilian population today is of Lebanese origin. These people are concentrated mainly in the economic hub of São Paulo. Comprising of several million individuals, this population was formed by successive waves of immigrants; the first dating back to the last quarter of the 19th century. Unusual in an immigrant population, this group has experienced remarkable entrepreneurial success, and consequentially a sociological phenomenon of outstanding upward social mobility has occurred within its ranks. Hence, although initially a population of mascates (hawkers), they subsequently managed to branch out into predominately commercial entrepreneurship. Today its members are deployed, horizontally, in almost all fields of economic activity and, vertically, have climbed the ladder into the highest spheres of economic, social and even political life. This thesis studies the issue of the upward social mobility of these immigrants and their descendants on both the horizontal and vertical levels. The aim of the study, on the one hand, was to trace the pattern underpinning the phenomenon in question, and on the other, to clarify the causes which made it possible. The findings of the study shed light on the causes relating to the specific personal characteristics of those concerned, coming into play in a historical window of opportunity. The latter, for its part, was the result of major economic and social changes, Brazil was encountering in the period under review. Following a transient self-structuring form of an 'intermediate minority', the ensuing pattern led to the perfect integration of these concerned into the host society adopting a model peculiar to Brazil, and as such, this population did not renounce their specific “Lebaneseness” as a component of their own identity. While the Brazilian syncretic model of integration allowed them to uphold, and maintain the specificity of their identity, it equally enabled them to redefine and reinterpret the same.
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Elsa El Hachem Kirby. Les entrepreneurs libanais à Sao Paulo (Brésil) : une mobilité sociale ascendante. Sociologie. Université René Descartes - Paris V, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012PA05H041⟩. ⟨tel-00923170⟩

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