‘Homing’ Guangzhou : emplacement, belonging and precarity among Africans in China

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

59 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, countless Africans have been moving between China and Africa. While Africans in Guangzhou have been generally portrayed as a wave of ‘immigrant traders’, they arrive in China for myriad reasons, occupy multiple (usually transient) emplacements, and engage in diverse activities. By following the stories and insights of two Nigerian community leaders, this article explores the place-making processes through which individuals and collectives negotiate their everyday lives in Guangzhou under conditions of uncertainty. Throughout the article, I suggest that despite different trajectories and emplacements, precarity is a common thread running through most accounts of Africans in the city. While sometimes paralysing, I argue that this precarity functions as a trigger encouraging individuals to develop structures of solidarity and networks of support (i.e. sporting clubs and community offices), which are crucial sites for individual and collective attempts to ‘feel at home’ while on the move in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-306
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Early online date12 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Africans in China
  • Guangzhou
  • Nigerians
  • belonging
  • emplacement
  • home
  • homing
  • place-making
  • precarity
  • transiency


Dive into the research topics of '‘Homing’ Guangzhou : emplacement, belonging and precarity among Africans in China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this