Published: May 2, 2013

Faculty conversations: Steven Gold

By: Zack Pena Media Communications Zack.Pena@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Jennifer Orlando Media Communications office: (517) 353-4355 cell: (517) 980-0076

During his 19 years at MSU, Steven Gold never lost interest in his research focus: "small, ethnic businesses" as a means for immigrants to support their families and to “make their communities interesting.”

Gold arrived at MSU after his first teaching job in California, and works as professor and associate chair in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University.

He said while many small business owners with a variety of backgrounds fail, immigrants seem to possess unique motivation for success in the business world.

Gold said immigrants often practice different languages and cultures and find it more satisfying to work for themselves rather than find an existing job.

“People, almost out of the need to survive, create their own businesses,” he said. “And, it’s compatible in the current time we’ve had with a difficult economy.”

Until recent years, sociology didn’t focus on the importance of small, immigrant businesses, Gold said. Now, sociologists are more aware of their importance throughout the U.S.

“One of Governor Snyder’s agendas is to encourage more entrepreneurial immigrants,” he said. “He’s made explicit statements about that desirability of immigrants and the businesses they create.”

Gold said MSU’s research greatly compliments the immigration trend in Michigan.

“I published enough so I could come to MSU – a large university with a bigger research focus and strength in Michigan immigration studies,” he said. “The school has an excellent reputation and that means people are excited about collaborating with faculty and MSU scholars – and that’s a real advantage.”

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Steven Gold, professor and associate chair in the Department of Sociology. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

Steven Gold, professor and associate chair in the Department of Sociology. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

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