From Expatriates to New Cosmopolitans? Female Transnational Professionals in Hong Kong

  • Maggy LeeEmail author
  • Thomas Wong


This chapter examines how the agency of transnational professional migrants is shaped by the global structures of opportunities, the economic and socio-political processes of particular places, and by the changing cultural discourses of migration. By drawing on the literature on transnational migration and social theory and on interviews with female ‘expatriates’ who arrived in Hong Kong between the 1970s and 2010s, Lee and Wong propose a typology of transnational female professionals: the ‘traditionalists’, the ‘individualists’, and the ‘new cosmopolitans’. The women’s accounts highlight the continuities and discontinuities in their life/migration strategies and the racialized and hierarchical discourse of migration in pre- and post-colonial Hong Kong. Female transnational professionals in the study differentially adapt to contextual discontinuity, harness advantages, and negotiate gendered constraints in charting their own trajectory. Their accounts pave the way for a more nuanced and problematized understanding of the more privileged tiers of movement within a globalizing China.


Professional migration Gender Race Post-colonialism Greater China 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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