Theorizing Immigrant Family Adaptation, Maladaptation, and Poverty: New Arrivals in Hong Kong from Mainland China

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


This chapter puts forth 19 postulates of a theoretical framework as a conceptual attempt to probe the social and economic adaptation of new mainland China immigrant families in Hong Kong. The framework focuses on differential pathways to an “upward spiral”, enabling intra- and inter-generational mobility among some immigrant families on the one hand, and to a “downward spiral”, a reproduction and institutionalization of poverty among other immigrant families on the other hand. The chapter posits that the central differentiating factor that separates the two types of families is the extent to which the father/husband manages to flexibly re-define and enact his roles in his relations with his wife, son, daughter, and his own parents. We argue that the key to overcoming poverty is the ability of the three-generation extended family to pull resources within it in terms of cooperation, exchange of roles, reciprocal support and productive intersections between two genders, three generations and two sites.


Social Capital Single Mother Immigrant Woman Immigrant Family Absent Father 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chan Institute of Social StudiesHong KongChina

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