Zhou, Yang (2017). Intercultural Marriage, Legal Status and Social Belonging in China: Chinese-African Couples and Families in Guangzhou. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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Guangzhou, as a long-time center of business, attracts diverse African migrants that widely influence culture, religious practices, language as well as foreign policy and administration. A noticeable feature of this migration pattern is the emergence of Chinese-African marriages and partnerships and their resulting children. These families face constraints under the ‘Exit and Entry Administration Law’, the hukou (household registration/户口) system and other administrative measures, which can lead to an irregular or second-class status of Chinese-African couples and their children. This thesis provides insights into Chinese-African couples’ personal lives; marriage or partnership choices; economic conditions and employment; cultural, value and gender differences within families; different opinions on child-rearing; and positive and negative aspects of relationships with in-laws, relatives, and friends. Furthermore, the thesis explores Chinese traders’, co-workers’, and neighbors’ attitudes towards Africans and Africans’ attitudes towards Chinese. The study deals with the obstacles to legal status and social belonging that Chinese-African couples encounter and reviews the role of cultural and religious differences in their social relationships. Even if Chinese partners have lived in Guangzhou for several years, as members of the floating population (liudongrenkou/流动人口), they are not granted equal rights or official residency under the hukou system, and their extended family members in rural villages or towns are not able to give them financial or social support. These Chinese partners are outsiders in Guangzhou, where they live and work, as well as outsiders in the hometowns where they have no desire to return to. Their African partners are considered part of the foreign ‘floating population’ by the Guangzhou administration. They face difficulties with regularizing their stay, and as non-citizens have limited or no access to social security. Chinese partners have to find ways to help African partners to deal with status issues and cultural differences so as to adapt to Chinese society. In cases where Chinese-African couples have children, the latter often find it hardto build self-confidence under conditions of prejudice. Children whose Chinese and African parents are not married are not eligible for hukou status, and will have difficulties attending school. However, Chinese and African partners try to find support from religious groups, business communities or other Chinese-African families in order to gain a sense of belonging and to help their children. It can be seen that the majority of Chinese-African couples do not attain their shared goal of socioeconomic upward mobility.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Zhou, Yangyang.zhou2011@gmail.comUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-77095
Date: 20 March 2017
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 4: Außereuropäische Sprachen, Kulturen und Gesellschaften > Institut für Ethnologie
Subjects: Social sciences
Home economics and family living
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Transnational migration, Intercultural marriage, Hukou system, 'Three-illegals', Family orientation, 'Matching-door marriage', Filial piety, Chinese-African children,UNSPECIFIED
Date of oral exam: 7 July 2017
NameAcademic Title
Pelican, MichaelaProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/7709


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