Maintaining and subverting Chinese class boundaries in Australia: Do 'people from different backgrounds keep to their own circle'?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Migration can work to perpetuate, or to subvert, homeland class boundaries. During the last resources boom, a new cohort of Chinese trade-skilled migrants and their families came to Perth to fill labour market shortages. Unlike the tertiary-educated elites that have typically characterised contemporary Chinese migrations to Australia, this new cohort of trade skilled migrants are working class with lower academic attainment, and are often from non- traditional sending areas. This paper explores how class structures that originated in China have been replicated but also challenged in the Australian context. Two broad points of difference are considered: migrants from middle-class and working-class backgrounds, and migrants with rural and urban hukou status.
Migration to Australia has created more opportunities for Chinese from different backgrounds to interact in their daily lives; encounters arise because of a shared language in a strange land, ethnic concentrations in some suburbs, and ethnic rental markets and other niche economies. The unique economic conditions of the resources boom have meanwhile subverted occupational hierarchies established in China. This paper explores how this has been experienced by migrants from diverse backgrounds, and considers some common boundary-maintaining discursive responses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBelonging in a Mobile World: Proceedings TASA 2017 Conference
EditorsFarida Fozdar, Catriona Stevens
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Australian Sociological Association
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780648221005
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event2017 Australian Sociological Association Conference - Perth, Australia
Duration: 27 Nov 201730 Nov 2017


Conference2017 Australian Sociological Association Conference


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