A Returnee’s Hybridity: Its Upside and Downside

  • Chan Kwok-bunEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Migration book series (IPMI, volume 2)


This chapter foremost reflects on the life experiences of return migrants in Hong Kong. They have a deep inner life energy, a restlessness or an anxiety, an eagerness for achievement, that cries out for actualization. The migrants’ restlessness, harnessed by years of having worked and lived at the crossroads of diverse, sometimes contradictory, cultural currents, is the fountainhead of hybridity, creativity, and innovation because to the immigrant, what is done in one way can always be done in another way, better, faster. The chapter argues that the innovativeness and creativity of these highly skilled immigrants are best not seen as a personality type, or an inner psychological attribute, but as a social process that emerges, develops and waits for social realisation, which depends upon the nature of the intersections between self and society. While emphasizing that creativity is a social process and not a personal characteristic, the chapter draws attention to the facts that one distinguishing characteristic of immigrants in general, and the return migrants in Hong Kong in particular, is their differentness, which often marks them off against the sameness of locals, the stayers; and that this differentness is often in tension with sameness, which is not without its deleterious consequences. The chapter concludes that social treatment, as an outer force, determines the inner psyche of the immigrant.


Cultural Capital Return Migrant Migrant Family Cultural Hybridity Repeat Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chan Institute of Social StudiesHong KongChina

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