Chinese Overseas: Comparative Cultural Issues

Chinese Overseas: Comparative Cultural Issues

Chinese Overseas: Comparative Cultural Issues

Chinese Overseas: Comparative Cultural Issues

Synopsis

This book examines issues of cultural change and identity construction of Chinese overseas, as well as other important issues such as Chinese and non-Chinese relations, and cultural and economic performance. It offers a perspective of understanding Chinese overseas in nation-states and beyond, in a global context which the author describes as the Chinese ethnological field.

Excerpt

This book offers a comparative perspective on the anthropological study of Chinese overseas. There are numerous works on Chinese of specific countries and a few works that compare Chinese of two or three countries. However, insufficient attention has been paid to using ethnographic knowledge of the Chinese of specific communities for discussion in a wider context, which I call the Chinese ethnological field. This book provides a comparative perspective of studying Chinese worldwide. Anthropologists study particular localities or regions, but their discussion can be related to similar studies elsewhere. There are ethnic Chinese all over the world, and a study of the Chinese in a particular locality can be described in a global context of Chinese in diaspora. in this book, I use my experience of long-term research among the Malay-speaking Chinese in Malaysia, called Baba, as well as my field experiences among other Chinese communities in Malaysia to understand the complex issues of localization and Chinese identity and relate them to the study of Chinese elsewhere in Southeast Asia and in other parts of the world. Thus, the Baba ethnography provides a base for discussion in most chapters.

In this book, the non-China citizens of different nationalities are referred to as ‘ethnic Chinese’ and ‘Chinese overseas’ rather than the commonly used ‘Overseas Chinese’, which today refers more accurately to huaqiao, citizens of China residing overseas. Southeast Asian scholars . . .

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