Middleman minority

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A middleman minority is a minority population whose main occupations link producers and consumers: traders, money-lenders, etc. A middleman minority, while possibly suffering discrimination and bullying, does not hold an "extreme subordinate" status in society.[1] The "middleman minority" concept was developed by sociologists Hubert Blalock and Edna Bonacich starting in the 1960s but is also used by political scientists and economists. This idea was further developed by American economist Thomas Sowell.[2]


There are numerous examples of such groups gaining eventual prosperity in their adopted country despite discrimination. Often, they will take on roles between producer and consumer, such as trading and moneylending. Famous examples such as Jews throughout Europe even at times when discrimination against them was high, Chinese throughout Southeast Asia and North America, Muslims and Parsis in India, Igbos in Nigeria, Indians in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, and many others.[3]

Middleman minorities usually provide an economic benefit to communities and nations and often start new industries. However, their economic aptitude, financial success and clannishness, combined with social prejudices by other groups against businesses and moneylending, can cause resentment among the native population of a country. Middleman minorities can be victims of racist violence, terrorists, bullying, genocide, racialist policy, or other forms of repression. Other ethnic groups often accuse them of plotting conspiracies against their nation or of stealing wealth from the native population.[3]


In Africa
In North America
In South America
  • Japanese in South America[4]
  • Lebanese in South America[8]
  • The majority of the 19th and early 20th centuries Middle Eastern immigrants to Brazil (Lebanese, Syrians, etc., collectively called "arabes" or "turcos", the latter term because they came from the Ottoman Empire) were peddlers, merchants and other types of non-"producers".[9]
In West Asia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Brien, David J.; Stephen S. Fugita (April 1982). "Middleman Minority Concept: Its Explanatory Value in the Case of the Japanese in California Agriculture". The Pacific Sociological Review. University of California Press. 25 (2): 185–204. doi:10.2307/1388723. JSTOR 1388723. S2CID 158296209.
  2. ^ Douglas, Karen Manges; Saenz, Rogelio. "Middleman Minorities" (PDF). International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (2nd ed.). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-06-22.
  3. ^ a b Sowell, Thomas (2005). "Is Anti-Semitism Generic?". Hoover Digest. Hoover Press. 2005 (3).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bonacich, Edna (October 1973). "A Theory of Middleman Minorities". American Sociological Review. American Sociological Association. 38 (5): 583–594. doi:10.2307/2094409. JSTOR 2094409.
  5. ^ "The Chinese in America: A Narrative History"
  6. ^ "Japanese Americans: The Development of a Middleman Minority"
  7. ^ "The Middleman Minority Characteristics Of Korean Immigrants In The United States"
  8. ^ Essays on Twentieth-Century History p.44
  9. ^ Jeffrey Lesser, "(Re) Creating Ethnicity: Middle Eastern Immigration to Brazil", The Americas Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jul., 1996), pp. 45-65 JSTOR 1007473
  10. ^ Pacini, Andrea (1998). Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future. Clarendon Press. pp. 38, 55. ISBN 978-0-19-829388-0. Archived from the original on 10 March 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  11. ^ Boxberger, Linda (2002). On the edge of empire: Hadhramawt, emigration, and the Indian Ocean, 1880s-1930s. SUNY Press. ISBN 9780791452172. ISSN 2472-954X. OCLC 53226033.
  12. ^ Freitag, Ulrike (1999). "Hadhramaut: A Religious Centre for the Indian Ocean in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries?". Studia Islamica (89): 165–183. doi:10.2307/1596090. JSTOR 1596090.
  13. ^ Manger, Leif (2010). The Hadrami diaspora: Community-building on the Indian Ocean rim. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845459789. OCLC 732958389.
  14. ^ a b Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks & White Liberals; about the book: Black Rednecks and White Liberals
  15. ^ Bloxham, Donald (2005). The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians. Oxford University Press. p. 8-9. ISBN 978-0-19-927356-0.
  16. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor. "Eastern Armenians Under Tsarist Rule" in The Armenian People From Ancient to Modern Times, Volume II: Foreign Dominion to Statehood: The Fifteenth Century to the Twentieth Century, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997, p. 125.
  17. ^ Blow; p. 213.
  18. ^ a b c d Swietochowski, Tadeusz (1985). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521522458. Archived from the original on 2021-12-02.
  19. ^ Braux, Adeline (3 December 2013). "Azerbaijani Migrants in Russia" (PDF). Caucasus Analytical Digest. 57 (5): 5–7.
  20. ^ Pál, N. (October 2007). Chinese in Eastern Europe and Russia: A Middleman Minority in a Transnational Era. doi:10.4324/9780203933961. ISBN 9781134063819.

Further reading[edit]