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Davidson College

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Argentina: Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America

Abstract

Aunque la inmigración china es algo relativamente nuevo en la historia de Argentina, las personas de aquel país han tenido una presencia fuerte en la sociedad de Buenos Aires, la ciudad Capital. En gran parte, esto es debido al nicho económico en el que muchos de los trabajadores chinos se han concentrado: los supermercados. Los pequeños mercados de barrio manejados por dueños chinos son tan comunes que a menudo los porteños simplemente dicen frases como “voy al chino” para referirse a estos comercios. Y con razón: en el 2011, aproximadamente el 35% de todos los mercados de Argentina pertenecía a personas de esta procedencia (Chinese Argentines). Este trabajo investiga el rol de los supermercados chinos en la transición que los descendientes de China vivencian en el espacio y la sociedad de Buenos Aires. A través de entrevistas con porteños no chinos y chinos, con una microetnografía, este estudio trata de analizar cómo los mercados promueven la integración, la segregación, o quizás ambas, de la comunidad china en Buenos Aires, con un enfoque en la movilidad social como una medida posible de la integración social.

Though Chinese immigration to Argentina is a relatively new phenomenon in the host country’s history, Chinese immigrants have attained a strong presence in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city. This is due, in large part, to the economic niche in which many Chinese workers have settled into: supermarkets. Small, neighborhood, Chinese-run markets are so common in Buenos Aires that locals short-handedly refer to them as “chinos” and with reason, in 2011, approximately 35% of all markets in Argentina were opened by Chinese individuals (Chinese Argentines). This paper investigates the role of these “chinos” in the transition of Chinese migrants into the culture of Buenos Aires. Through interviews with non-Chinese Buenos Aires locals and Chinese individuals, in addition to a small-scale ethnography of various Chinese supermarkets, this study attempts to analyze how these small stores have contributed to both the integration and segregation of the Chinese community in Buenos Aires, with a special focus on social mobility as a measure of social integration.

Disciplines

Chinese Studies | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Critical and Cultural Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Place and Environment | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Work, Economy and Organizations

 

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