Cover of Citizens in Motion by Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho
Citizens in Motion
Emigration, Immigration, and Re-migration Across China's Borders
Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho


184 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503606661
Ebook ISBN: 9781503607460

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Winner of the 2019 Global and Transnational Sociology Best Book by an International Scholar Award, sponsored by the American Sociology Association - Global and Transnational Sociology Section.

More than 35 million Chinese people live outside China, but this population is far from homogenous, and its multifaceted national affiliations require careful theorization. This book unravels the multiple, shifting paths of global migration in Chinese society today, challenging a unilinear view of migration by presenting emigration, immigration, and re-migration trajectories that are occurring continually and simultaneously. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic observations conducted in China, Canada, Singapore, and the China–Myanmar border, Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho takes the geographical space of China as the starting point from which to consider complex patterns of migration that shape nation-building and citizenship, both in origin and destination countries. She uniquely brings together various migration experiences and national contexts under the same analytical framework to create a rich portrait of the diversity of contemporary Chinese migration processes. By examining the convergence of multiple migration pathways across one geographical region over time, Ho offers alternative approaches to studying migration, migrant experience, and citizenship, thus setting the stage for future scholarship.

About the author

Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore.

"Migration practices in the globalized world are changing the ways we understand resettlement, citizenship, identity, and the sense of home. Elaine Ho's multi-sited ethnographic study offers a sophisticated analysis of the challenges and opportunities for belonging and states' management of cultural diversity in China, Canada, and Singapore today."

—Min Zhou, University of California, Los Angeles, and editor, Contemporary Chinese Diasporas

"Citizens in Motion is a pathbreaking study on contemporary migrations to and from China. It provides an instructive model on capturing the multiplicity of contemporaneous migrations that link nation-states while expanding our breadth of knowledge on questions of citizenship for transnational subjects and troubling assumptions of co-ethnic allegiance. This book is a must-read for specialists of China, migration, and racial ethnic studies across disciplines."

—Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, author of Servants of Globalization: Migration and Domestic Work

"Citizens in Motion is an invaluable contribution to literature on Chinese migration and diaspora, and wider migration studies more broadly, for several reasons: its expansive, multi-sited methodology; the varied Chinese diasporic histories woven into the present; and the conceptual frameworks she deploys, like those of 'citizenship constellations' and 'Tianxia', which complicate our understandings of mobility, belonging, difference and the state."––Caroline Faria & Devon Hsiao, Space and Polity

"Citizens in Motion makes several significant interventions in a dynamic field, offering a much-welcomed update. Students and scholars of Chinese migration and society will find Ho's new book highly enlightening regarding our transnational present and the new visions we need."––Shelley Chan, The China Quarterly

"[This] book is a timely production enriching the expanding scholarship on new Chinese migration. It offers an understanding of the diverse trends and directions of contemporary migrations from China and raises important questions regarding cultural and economic citizenship."

—Yuk Wah Chan, China Information

"This richly documented and theoretically provocative study is a timely and important contribution to the literature on migration journeys, showing how these transform transnational subjects and states alike. It will appeal to a broad interdisciplinary readership concerned with the questions of migration, citizenship, and ethnicity far beyond Chinese studies."

—Elena Barabsentva, The China Journal

"In Citizens in Motion, Elaine Ho...[argues] for an approach that transcends place-time snapshots in theorisations of migration and citizenship....[This] book offers a rich and complex narrative, and much food for thought for theorisations of migration and citizenship."

—Sin Yee Koh, Asian Journal of Social Science

"The conceptual framework and future directions identified by this book are aspects that scholars of overseas Chinese studies and history can learn from, especially in terms of how the book emphasises local contexts and their uniqueness, as well as the expansive analytical framework it adopts."

—Guo Mei Fen, The International Journal of Diaspora Chinese Studies

"Ho emphasizes both temporality and spatiality by drawing out the implications of multidirectional Chinese migrations and the multiple national configurations through which migrants might claim inclusion and, in turn, be claimed by various diasporas. Such multiply relocated migrants illustrate the strengths of Ho's approach."

—Madeine Y. Hsu, Cross-Currents

"Citizens in Motion should be commended for pushing the boundaries of transnationalism scholarship, and for its stimulating and insightful engagements with interdisciplinary debates on deterritorialized citizenship, multiculturalism, and, of course, Chinese diaspora....I think it is fair to say that Ho has produced a book of

exceptional quality and scholarly contribution."

—Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang, Journal of Asian Studies

"[This book] adds new and hitherto unexplored dimensions to ideas of 'multiculturalism' and 'belonging', highlighting the complexity of ethnic identity, migration and temporality....It is thought-provoking and richly informative and essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the contemporary Chinese diaspora."

—Johanna Waters, Social and Cultural Geography

"Citizens in Motion is a welcome reorientation of migration studies' conventional cartographies....[It] illuminates how migrant mobilities are animated through the entanglements of national integration and extraterritorial citizenship that differentiate the kinds of attachments and identities held by migrants."

—Ishan Ashutosh, Dialogues in Human Geography

"Ho is a skilful qualitative researcher who draws out rich data from her exhaustive fieldwork research, including interviews, participant observation, media analysis and analysis of other textual and visual sources."

—Liu Liangni Sally, Dialogues in Human Geography

"Works on international migration emphasize the mobility and flexibility brought about by transnationality, but they seldom discuss the conceptual and methodological challenges of understanding the (in)variability and multiplicity of identity and membership. Citizens in Motion promotes an approach that stresses the accretion of identities rather than the displacement of one identity for another."

—Pu Hao, Dialogues in Human Geography