The Uncanny Homely and Unhomely Feeling: Gender and Generation Politics in Return Migrant Families in Hong Kong

  • Chan Wai-wan
  • Chan Kwok-bun


This chapter reports on a study of the return migrants in Hong Kong which throws up some deep, critical questions about the family, the Chinese family, Chineseness, being and doing Chinese, marriage, being sons and daughters, wives and husbands. The returnees have been elsewhere. While sojourning in societies in the west, they have both knowingly and unknowingly transformed themselves. In the context of the family and marriage, these transformations bear significantly on values and attitudes toward all things familial and Chinese, which have consequences for relations within and outside the family and marriage, between self and others, family and work, private and public. Lesions and fault lines make their repeated appearances in just about each and every interpersonal transaction and encounter because the “elsewhere man and woman” no longer enjoy their former closeness of fit with the locals who have also changed not on their own volition. One does not step into the same river twice. The uncanny feeling of home but not homely, unhomely, continues. A moving family, or a family in motion, provides the existentialist philosopher and the methodologist, even the poet, an ideal occasion to meditate on the malleability of culture, social structure, world views, values. The pragmatist sociologist would work toward change for the better for himself or herself, and for all.


Return Migrant Career Opportunity Power Struggle Business Trip Local Colleague 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chan Institute of Social Studies (CISS)Hong KongChina

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