Home Institution

Kenyon College

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Program Name

Ghana: Africa in the 21st Century


Opinions on the impacts of China in Africa differ from one observer to the next, be it in media, academic, or elsewhere. While most general discourses have been nuanced and coherent, there is nevertheless a prevailing sentiment of unbridled fear and Sinophobia, or anti-Chinese populism. Based on a two-sided study in Ghana, this research uses Chinese-Ghanaian employment relations as a way of entry to analyze and explore cross-cultural understandings, or lack thereof, that leads to conflict. From there, this paper examines the style of politicized media in broadcasting Sino-Ghanaian (Chinese-Ghanaian) engagements and its role in creating the anti-Chinese populism on the continent. Central to the culturally-grounded conflict is the lack of mutual understanding in socio-cultural interactions experienced by both parties in each of their distinct ways: punctuality, language, foreignness, vulnerability, and risk. This research fulfills previous research gap and sheds light particularly on Chinese employers' existence in a foreign environment and their financial and social risks, as well as vulnerability powered by the rising anti-Chinese sentiment. As past studies on Sino-African engagement have often been limited to large-scale aid, infrastructure, or manufacturing projects involving state-owned enterprises, this research complements the ongoing academic conversation by investigating Chinese migrants working as employers in the service and catering sector of Ghana and their interactions with Ghanaian employees and the general public as it is the most common and prominent way of social interactions between people of both cultures.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Asian Studies | Chinese Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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