‘Anyway, you are an outsider’: Temporary migrants in urban China

Huimin DU*, Si Ming LI, Pu HAO

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we extend recent discussions on the relationship with the host place of ‘temporary’ or non-hukou migrants in major Chinese cities through the lens of three psychological processes: familiarity, attachment and identity. The empirical analysis is based on fieldwork conducted in selected villages-in-the-city in Guangzhou. A mixed methods approach is employed. The findings highlight the emotional distance between temporary migrants and their urban milieu: while some become familiar with the city through their prolonged stay, very few establish attachment and identity. The analysis shows that the dominance of indigenous villagers is a major obstacle for migrants to develop attachment to the given village-in-the-city; moreover, perceived institutional discriminations negatively affect migrants’ attachment to the city. The findings also corroborate a social constructionist perception of place identity: when place identity is legitimated and reproduced by the hukou system, it is difficult for migrants to challenge the hegemonic constructions of place and identity and to create their own narratives of identities.

在本文中,我们将最近关于中国大城市“临时”或“无户口”移民与接收这些移民的地方之间的关系的探讨进一步延伸,我们的角度是三个心理过程:熟悉、依恋和身份。我们的实证分析基于在广州选定的城中村进行的实地调查。我们采用混合方法。研究结果凸显了临时移民与城市环境之间的情感距离:虽然一些人通过长期逗留熟悉了城市,但很少有人建立了依恋和身份。分析表明,原住民村民的支配地位是移民发展对城中村的依恋的主要障碍。此外,感知到的制度歧视会对移民对城市的依恋产生负面影响。这些发现也证实了社会建构主义者对地方身份的看法:当地方身份被户籍制度合法化和复制时,移民难以挑战地方和身份的霸权结构,并创造自己的身份叙事。

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3185-3201
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Studies
Volume55
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding was received from the Hong Kong Research Grant Council General Research Fund, No: HKBU 245511.

Keywords

  • people–place relationship
  • place attachment
  • place identity
  • spatial familiarity
  • temporary migrants
  • 人地关系
  • 地方依恋
  • 地方认同
  • 空间熟悉
  • 临时移民

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