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Chinese Vietnamese Mobilities: Negotiating Attachment and Belonging Through Collective Serial Migration

  • Author(s): James, Stephen Samuel
  • Advisor(s): Ossman, Susan M
  • et al.
Abstract

In this dissertation I follow the path of Chinese Vietnamese who left Vietnam for China and Hong Kong during the period 1978-1996, and finally settled in London. I study this collective serial migration based on archival research, structured and semi structured interviews and participant observation with individuals and families in homes, places of business and at community events. Based on this research, I study the reasons for their departure from VN, their time in China and refugee camps in HK, their dispersal in the UK and consequent settlement in London. This leads me to explore collective memory in the context of a collective serial migration that shift attention from borders as containers of meaning and culture to markers of significant shifts along a path. My research shows that sharing the path of migration reinforces feelings of belonging to a specific group shaped by a shared experience. This group dominates ideas of self and belonging, ethnicity and citizenship. This collective serial migration thus provides a particularly fruitful terrain for exploring recombinant histories and more generally the connection between migratory experience and forms of subjectivity. Collective serial migration creates a situation for the children of migrants that is distinct from those of diasporic constituted communities and that leads most of them to pursue paths of individual serial migration themselves. Experiencing paths of collective serial migration passes on a subjective outlook that favors onward migration in the first, 1.5 and 2nd generations.

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