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Ethnicity, Children & Habitus

Ethnic Chinese School Children in Northern Ireland



This book is concerned with the ethnic experience of Chinese secondary school children living in Northern Ireland. The author analyses two sub-groups of Chinese children: those with parents coming from Hong Kong and those with parents coming from Mainland China. The purpose of this study is to investigate how these apparently ‘Chinese’ children feel about their ethnic identity. By drawing upon Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, and a cultural studies’ approach to ethnicity and identity in general, the author examines the characteristics of cultural specificity and heterogeneity.
Methodologically, the author has chosen an ethnographic approach. Prominence is given to the definitions, perspectives and voices of the children themselves by conducting open-ended, indepth and informal interviews and by doing so on an extended basis. The whole process continued for two and half years. Close attention was paid to the children’s immediate circumstances, their parental occupations and their general social and cultural conditions.
Contents: Literature Review – Theoretical Framework – Searching for a Methodology – The Mainland Chinese School Children: Practice of Relation-Building – The Hong Kong Chinese School Children: The Construction of Cultural Alienation – Narratives of the Mainland Chinese Parents – Narratives of the Hong Kong Chinese Parents – Discussion and Conclusion – A Critical Reflection on the Research Process.