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Homeland engagement and host-society integration: A comparative study of new Chinese immigrants in the United States and Singapore

  • Author(s): Zhou, M
  • Liu, H
  • et al.
Abstract

This article addresses three main questions through a comparative study of new Chinese immigrants in the United States and Singapore: (1) How do contexts of emigration and reception affect the ways in which new immigrants are tied to their homeland? (2) How do diasporic communities help members engage with the homeland? (3) What effects does transnationalism have on host-society integration? We develop an institutional approach to analyze how the state is involved in the transnational fields and how diasporic organizations serve as a bridge between individual migrants and state actors in transnational practices and integration processes. We find that new Chinese immigrants maintain emotional and tangible ties with China even as they are oriented toward resettlement in the hostland and that their transnational practices are similar in form but vary in magnitude, depending not only on diasporic positionality in the host society but also on bi-national relations. We also find that those who actively engage themselves in the transnational fields tend to do so through diasporic organizations. Finally, we find that homeland engagement generally benefits integration into host societies. These findings suggest that social forces at the macro-level – the nation-state – and at the meso-level – diasporic communities – are intertwined to affect processes and outcomes of immigrant transnationalism.

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