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Between the Household and the World System: Social Collectivity and Community Agency in Overseas Chinese Archaeology

Abstract

At the Market Street Chinatown in San Jose, California, residential arrangements were profoundly shaped by institutionalized racism, anti-Chinese violence, labor practices, and immigration policies. These, in turn, shaped the form and content of the archaeological record. As is typical of many Overseas Chinese sites, archaeological features cannot be associated with specific households—in fact, the “household” concept is not always pertinent. A contextual, multiscalar approach to research on this residential community highlights other forms of social collectivity, such as district associations and business consortiums, that were able to act meaningfully to promote community survival and well-being. The archaeology of Overseas Chinese communities has a significant contribution to make to archaeological method and theory by opening new pathways of inquiry into the “middle scale” between the individual or household and the world system.

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Voss, B.L. Between the Household and the World System: Social Collectivity and Community Agency in Overseas Chinese Archaeology. Hist Arch 42, 37–52 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03377098

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