Negotiating Chineseness and Capitalising on Resources Through Learning Chinese Heritage Language: Habitus and Capital in Fields

  • Guanglun Michael MuEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 30)


The increasing linguistic and cultural diversity of our society has seen the growing salience of facilitating heritage language learning of ethnic minority people. The maintenance and development of Chinese heritage language (CHL), given the long history and the large scale of the migration of its speakers, has gained much scholarly attention. This leads up to a rich stream of research addressing Chinese heritage language learners (CHLLs)’ perplex, multifaceted commitments to, and their subtle, multilayer identities in, CHL learning. Much, if not most, of this scholarship draws on social psychological and poststructural frameworks and provides empirical evidence predominantly emerging from North American contexts. The current chapter differs, however, in its use of Bourdieu’s sociology to speculate CHL learning in Australia, an idiosyncratic cultural and social space for CHLLs. I will open the chapter with a panoramic review of different approaches to CHLLs’ commitment to, and their identity construction through, CHL learning. This will give rise to my sociological investigation of how Chinese Australians negotiate Chineseness and capitalise on resources through CHL learning.


Chineseness Habitus Capital Field Bourdieu Chinese heritage language 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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