Social Strain and the Adaptive Behavior of Hong Kong Return Migrants

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


This chapter theorizes the adaptive responses of Hong Kong return migrants and their transnational and transcultural practices in terms of their behavioral patterns. Based on intersectionality analysis and Bourdieu’s convertibility of forms of capital, the chapter argues their transnational practices and relative adaptability can be explained by Durkheim’s concept of anomie and Merton’s social strain theory in the sense that failures in attempts at capital conversion would result in strain, alienation or worse, self-estrangement. Using data from indepth interviews with a sample of return migrants in Hong Kong, the chapter attempts to identify, describe, and explain the variety of behavioral patterns and modes of emotional manifestations in the adaptation of Hong Kong returnees, and to identify their individual and collective strategies of coping to help solve their problems of adjustment and integration. The chapter has broad implications and consequences for understanding millions of migrants who are living out their lives in transit, in between the societies of departure and of arrival, while being fully aware of the positive and negative impact on their lives of multiple social forces in the global social field, in intersections and mutual entanglements with each other.


Social Capital Cultural Capital Return Migrant Chinese Migrant Migrant Transnationalism 
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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