Subethnic interpersonal dynamic in diasporic community: a study on Chinese immigrants in Vancouver

Miu Chung Yan*, Karen Lok Yi Wong, Daniel W. L. Lai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnicity is a social construct that can be conceptualised as a social classification delineating certain boundaries between an ethnic group and the dominant group. Members of an ethnic group are assumed to share similar cultural characteristics and to be homogenous among themselves. Many studies in ethnic organisations have indicated that subethnicity also exists within an ethnic group, but research on subethnicity is scant. Based on the findings of an exploratory study conducted in Vancouver, Canada, we examined how, at an interpersonal level, place of origin, language, mutual bias and discrimination and transnational politics divide the Chinese diasporic community subethnically. Meanwhile, being Chinese in the Canadian context and willingness to break the subethnic boundaries are noted as counterforces to the subethnic divide. We contend that interpersonal interaction is an imperative dimension for the understanding of the shaping of boundary between different subethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-468
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Ethnicity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese diasporic community
  • ethnic boundary
  • intra-group dynamic
  • Subethnicity


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