Place and Small Businesses: Reflections on Ethnographic Research in and on Place

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This paper examines the often taken-for-granted role of ‘place’ and geography (cities, neighborhoods) in business ethnography, using research on small business as a case-in-point. Most studies of small businesses tend to focus directly on businesses themselves, eliding from consideration the social and physical environment in which they are situated. Yet especially for businesses that operate in an actual physical location, place infuses all they do: how they organize their operations, what they care about, the way they are perceived by customers and potential customers, the reputations they develop, where they cluster, and the kind of communication they engage in.

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