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Zentrum Technik und GesellschaftBerta Güell Torrent

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Berta Güell Torrent


until July 2013 at the ZTG

Berta Güell – is currently enjoying a 4-month DAAD scholarship at ZTG TU-Berlin within her PhD studies until the end of July 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Hans-Liudger Dienel and Dr. Czarina Wilpert. Miss Güell is a PhD candidate at the department of Sociology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) in the subject of ethnic entrepreneurship. She is a graduate in Political Sciences from the UAB, has a MA in Research in Sociology and a postgraduate degree in Immigration and Reception, both from the University of Barcelona (UB). She works as a researcher at the European Social Research Unit of the UB and has undertaken several investigations, mainly related to European projects in the field of social sciences. She has also been actively involved in the creation of research proposals at various levels and counts with several articles related to the phenomenon of migration.


The pakistani community and their businesses in Barcelona: trajectories, opportunities and dynamics around self-employment

Pakistani migrants appear to be one of the most active groups in working as self-employed together with other Asian communities and since 2011, they have become the first foreign group in Barcelona with more than 23,000 people (Department of Welfare and Family of Catalonia, 2012). However, it is still an unknown and underreseached community in the field of immigration in Spain. The emergence of ethnic businesses is precisely one of the areas that makes them more visible and constitutes a gateway to explore the internal dynamics of the community. This study is aimed at better understanding the motivations surrounding self-employment by looking at the transnational migration trajectories of Pakistani entrepreneurs and workers, as well as the contexts and structures of opportunities in which ethnic businesses arise. The role of the key actors involved in the local commercial landscape are carefully analysed in order to define what enabling and constraining factors are in place, as well as the interactions between each other in the political, institutional, economic and social arenas.

In order to meet these goals, a mixed method approach is to be used, especially in what concerns the employment of quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques. The analysis is framed in three different neighbourhoods of Barcelona: El Raval, which is the diaspora’s nodule, el Besòs which is the second most highly populated of the city and where Pakistani migrants arrived at a later stage, and Gràcia which does not gather many residents, but is witnessing a growing number of Pakistani businesses. The mapping of businesses and in-depth interviews with key informants and Pakistani entrepreneurs and workers will be used as the main research techniques to better understand issues around migration trajectories, ways to self-employment, use of ethnic strategies and identity. The data generated by the fieldwork will also allow contributions to the theoretical debate around the ‘ethnic’ character of migrant’s businesses and to further explore on the existing elements of an economy of ethnic enclave in a south-European city. 

Lebenslauf / Curriculum Vitae


  • Degree in Political Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), 2007

  • Postgraduate degree in Immigration and Reception (“Immigració i Acollida”) at the University of Barcelona (UB), 2009

  • MA in Research in Sociology at the University of Barcelona (UB), 2012

    • MA Thesis: Pakistani businesses in the neighbourhood of Raval in Barcelona. Grounds and strategies for self-employment, directed by Prof. Marisol García. Recently awarded by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans in the Tender of Young Sociologists (April 2013).



Researcher at the European Social Research Unit of the UB (Sept. 2008 – current)

Projects where she has worked in:

  • “CITISPYCE: Combating Inequalities through Innovative Social Practices of and for Young People in Cities across Europe”. European 7th FP project. January 2013 – December 2015.

  • “LINKAGE: Labour market integration of Vulnerable Age Groups through Social Dialogue”. European project funded by the DG of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. December 2012- December 2013

  • “TEAM: Trade Unions, Economic Change and Active Inclusion of Migrant Workers”. European project funded by the DG of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. December 2011- June 2012

  • PROSINT: Promoting Sustainable Policies for Integration”. European project funded by the DG for Justice. December 2009 – June 2011

  • GENDERACE: The use of racial anti-discrimination laws: gender and citizenship in a multicultural context”. European 7th FP project. January 2008 –July 2010

  • “Management of the cultural diversity in companies in Catalonia” (“Gestió de la diversitat cultural a les empreses a Catalunya”). Research funded by the Consell de Relacions Laborals de la Generalitat de Catalunya. April 2009 – December 2009

Fieldwork support in the research group EgoLab of the UAB (April 2012 – May 2012)

Pedagogical work and public relations within the NGO KATE e.V. in Berlin (Nov. 2007 – May 2008)



  • Jubany, Olga, Berta Güell and Roisin Davis (2011) “Standing up to Intersectional Discrimination: a Multi-dimensional Approach to the Case of Spain”, Droit et Cultures. Vol. 62 (2), p. 197-217

  • Güell, Berta (2011) “La múltiple discriminació a Espanya. Una realitat social estesa, tot i que sovint ignorada”, p. 175-183 in Ariadna Solé (Ed.) Els Fantasmes de l’Exclusió Social. Barcelona: Publicacions i Edicions UB

  • Jubany, Olga and Berta Güell (2011) “The national policy frame for the integration of newcomers in Spain”. PROSINT Country Report WP2, available at http://research.icmpd.org/1429.html

  • Jubany, Olga, Berta Güell and Róisín Davis (2011) “Study on the local implementation of integration/introduction courses for newcomers”. Case study Barcelona/Spain. PROSINT Case Study Report WP3, available at http://research.icmpd.org/1429.html

  • Pajares, Miguel, Olga Jubany, Berta Güell and Ariadna Solé (2010) “Nous reptes i noves propostes en la gestió de la diversitat cultural a les empreses a Catalunya” Barcelona: Col·lecció estudis del Consell de Relacions Laborals, Generalitat de Catalunya, 191 p.



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