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Smith College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to analyze the identity processes of Chinese/Taiwanese-Argentinean young people in Buenos Aires, Argentina and connect their self-identifications with experiences and decisions related to education, careers, and cultural preservation. The narrative of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrant experience in Argentina traditionally focuses on the role of these immigrants in the supermarket sector of the economy, emphasizing conflict between the immigrant community and Argentinean natives and the isolation of the Chinese community perpetuated by the role the children of these immigrants played as translators and workers especially during the years between the 1970s and the 1990s. This investigation uses previous works and interviews with seven members of the Chinese/Taiwanese-Argentinean community, the majority of whom were born in China or Taiwan and came to Argentina as children or young adults, to construct a new image of the current immigrant identity experience.

The application of various identity theories to the self-identifications and life stories of these participants shows how the traditional concepts of Chinese/Taiwanese-Argentinean identities can no longer be assumed as applicable to the current generation, and questions the concept of identity itself. The research specifically addresses how each participant self-identifies, how each participant participates in or identifies with the larger Chinese community, the role each participants identity plays in finding work, the role the participants’ parents play in choosing their academic focus in college, and experience each participant has with the preservation of Chinese language. It also allows for the duality of culture within the identities of these people to be considered as advantageous, effectively putting into question conventional assumptions about Chinese/Taiwanese immigrant experience in Argentina.

Disciplines

Chinese Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Immigration Law | Latin American Studies | Race and Ethnicity

 

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