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, does not hold an
"extreme subordinate" status in society. A similar concept is
market-dominant minorities. The "middleman minority" concept was
developed by sociologists like Blalock and Bonacich starting in the
1960s but is also used by political scientists and
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, Muslims and
Parsis in India, Igbos in Nigeria, Indians
in East Africa, Lebanese in West Africa, people from the Soviet Blocs
in the USA during the Cold War, and many others.
Stereotypically, middleman minorities save a large portion of their
incomes and have limited interaction with the native population in a
country. These groups usually become very successful ethnic groups in
a society soon after they immigrate, even though they are often poor
when they first arrive. Education is placed at a high premium in these
groups, which can lead to disproportionate representation in
universities and in politics, high representation in commerce and some
high end white collar professional and managerial positions.[citation
Middleman minorities usually provide an economic benefit to
communities and nations and often start new industries. However, their
economic aptitude, financial success, 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 violence, 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.
Arab Christians in the Arab World
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
Armenians in Baku
Armenians in Baku during the Russian Empire
Persian Armenians in Safavid dynasty
Azerbaijanis during the Imperial era of
Azerbaijanis in the
Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire
Azerbaijanis in contemporary Iran
Azerbaijanis in contemporary Russia
Asian Indians in East Africa
Chinese in Southeast Asia
Parsis in India, although having prospered, have done so under active
patronisation of Indian rulers and have not been discriminated against
because of their race.
Japanese in South America
Syrians in West Africa
Marwaris in Nepal & India
Lebanese in South America.
^ 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. JSTOR 1388723.
^ World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic
Hatred and Global Instability
^ a b Sowell, Thomas (2005). "Is Anti-Semitism Generic?". Hoover
Digest. Hoover Press. 2005 (3).
^ 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 – via JSTOR. (Registration required
^ Black Rednecks & White Liberals
^ 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.
^ Blow; p. 213.
^ Black Rednecks & White Liberals
^ a b c d Swietochowski, Tadeusz (1985). Russian Azerbaijan,
1905-1920: The Shaping of a National Identity in a
Cambridge University Press.
^ Braux=, Adeline (3 December 2013). "Azerbaijani Migrants in Russia"
(PDF). Caucasus Analytical Digest. 57 (5): 5–7.
^ "The Chinese in America: A Narrative History"
^ "Japanese Americans: The Development of a Middleman Minority"
^ "The Middleman Minority Characteristics Of Korean Immigrants In The
^ Essays on Twentieth-Century History p.44
^ Boxberger, Linda (2002). On the edge of empire: Hadhramawt,
emigration, and the Indian Ocean, 1880s-1930s. SUNY Press.
ISBN 9780791452172. ISSN 2472-954X.
^ 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 – via JSTOR.
^ Manger, Leif (2010). The Hadrami diaspora: Community-building on the
Indian Ocean rim. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845459789.
^ Silverman, Robert Mark. 2000. Doing Business in Minority Markets:
Black and Korean Entrepreneurs in Chicago’s Ethnic Beauty Aids
Industry. New York: Garland Publishing.
Colonialism, particularly exploitation colonialism and plantation
World on Fire, a book that introduces the concept of "market-dominant
We are the 99%
"Ethnic enclaves and middleman minorities: alternative strategies of
immigrant adaptation?". Sociol Perspect. 30 (2): 143–61. Apr 1987.
doi:10.2307/1388996. PMID 12315137.