Identity and Belonging: First and Second Generation Chinese Canadian Youth in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Cui, Dan
  • Although Chinese Canadians have been considered as one of the largest “visible minority” group in Canada, research with the children of Chinese immigrants has yet to be fully developed. Recent empirical research reveals that racialized minority children experience a greater rate of racial discrimination than do their parents and thus have a decreased sense of belonging to Canada. In this context, my research examines identification and sense of belonging among first and second generation Chinese Canadian youth in Alberta. Two major research questions raised in this study include How do Chinese Canadian youth construct identities and negotiate belonging within a Canadian multicultural society? What are the factors that contribute to their identification and sense of belonging?
    Using a grounded theory approach, thirty-six Chinese Canadian youth aged 15-25 in Edmonton and Calgary were interviewed. The findings of this research include two substantive identity models grounded in empirical data. Ten points of reference are identified to reveal the complicated assumptions that Chinese youth drew on in the process of their identity construction and belonging negotiation. The structural, institutional, and interpersonal factors that affect their identification and belonging are explored and discussed.
    These factors, I argue, illustrate that racism still subjugates Chinese youth as second-class citizens through their daily interaction with major agents of socialization such as school, family, and media. The identity label of “Chinese” is therefore far from a neutral ethnic term. It is rather a racialized identity imbued with various racist connotations. My investigation illustrates that racism functions as a discourse and hegemonic ideology which is not only maintained and imposed from non-Chinese immigrants, but also reproduced and internalized within the Chinese community.
    The findings from this study have significant implications for race and ethnic studies, the adaptation and integration of Chinese immigrant descendants, identity studies, sociology of education, cultural studies, social justice and equity in education.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Sara Dorow (Sociology)
    • Dr. Ali Abdi (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Dr. Alison Taylor (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Dr. Jerrold Kachur (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Dr. Peter Li (Sociology)