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Permanent Outsiders in China

American Migrants’ Otherness in the Chinese Gaze


Yang Liu

This book situates migrating individuals’ sense of Otherness in receiving countries front and center and systematically illustrates the configuration of Western migrants’ Other-identity during their reverse migration from the West to China, which has become a new destination of international migration due to its rise to prominence in the global labor market. Consequently, international migrants from Western countries, especially those with skills desired in China, have become this country’s main target in the global race for talent. In this context, this book attends to American migrants on the Chinese mainland, who are perceived as the prototypical waiguoren in this region, as an illuminating case, and illustrates the configuration of their Other-identity, rising from their intercultural adaptation as the privileged but marginalized Other in an asymmetric power structure. This book also attempts to reveal the condition and process of Chinese Othering of American migrants that exists but is far less openly discussed in China.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents




Introduction: The Foreign Other in China—The Case of American Migrants

Chapter One:Conceptualizing the Other-Identity during Intercultural Encounters

Chapter Two:Research Design Guided by Grounded Theory

Chapter Three:Exoticized Otherness Rising from Objectification, Homogenization, and Alienation

Chapter Four:Stereotyped Otherness Formulated by Fantasization, Underestimation, and Stigmatization

Chapter Five:Ostracized Otherness Emerging from Social Estrangement and Cultural Dissociation

Conclusion: Rethinking about Othering from the Other’s Perspective


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