Liminal Spaces: Ethnic Chinese in the Borderlands of Southern Africa

  • Yoon Jung Park
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter, which builds on original research on Chinese people in Southern Africa and other ethnographic studies, makes two simple arguments. First, context matters. Different African countries, at different points in time, can be more or less welcoming to Chinese migrants. China’s global rise, the relative numbers of Chinese newcomers vis-à-vis local populations, the circumstances of their arrival, and the capacity of local economies to absorb new migrants matter. Secondly, the South African case shows us that despite a long history in the country, Chinese people—whether third-generation South Africans or newly arrived—continue to occupy an in-between status. Caught between racial categories and nation-states, they make their homes in liminal spaces. Perhaps, in a hyper-globalized world, in these metaphorical borderlands, this is the new normal.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoon Jung Park
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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