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Globalization, Transnational Flows, and Urban Enclaves: A Case Study of the Immigrant Community of the Chinese Burmese in Jhonghe, Taipei
globalization,transnationalism,enclave,immigrant community,Burmese Street,
|Publication Year :||2009|
Immigrant communities have been the focus of urban studies. For people who don’t live in these urban enclaves, these places are loaded with marginal and enigmatic images. However, these immigrant spaces are shaped by the social networks and political struggles through multiple levels of territorial scales. By focusing on Hua-Hsin Street of Taipei, the immigrant community of Chinese Burmese, this research aims to explore the characters of spatial changes and the place identity within the global dynamic of urban development and people’s flows.
The interactive forces among three dimensions: citizenship, space and identity form the theoretical lens to this research. Based on the observation and interviews in the daily life of the Burmese community, it argues that the community was shaped and constantly reconfigured by the transnationalism between the sending place in Burma and the residence in Taipei. Their community space at the Hua-Hsin Street expresses a unique cultural representation of ethnic enclave in the urban area. And the social networks of the immigrants work to compensate the weakness of citizenship. However, along with the expansion of the mega-urban region of Taipei, Hua-Hsin Street is under development pressure from both local government and developers, which lead to both the threats and changes of its spatial characters.
Hua-Hsin Street overtime has served as a social space for Chinese Burmese to keep their cultural identity, social networks and ethnic economy. However, the meaning of the place as home to Chinese Burmese is contested. On the one hand, various types of citizenship among the Chinese Burmese highly intermediate the levels and forms of their place identities and the tightening policy on citizenship have turned Hua-Hsin Street more difficult to be ‘home’. Furthermore, as an urban enclave without clear boundaries in the fast growing area, the social discrimination and exclusion between local Taiwan people and the Chinese Burmese and their descents are detectable. Besides, growing numbers of new immigrants from Southeast Asian countries from the 1990s, including migrant workers and spouses who live, work, or frequent Hua-Hsin Street also further turn it into a place with higher ethnic hybridity. Lastly, real estate developers, business groups like coke cola, and the local government’s programs of marketing Hua-Hsin Street as a tourist spot are reshaping the local landscapes rapidly. These dimensions together shape the dynamic nature of Hua-Hsin Street in a global era.
|Appears in Collections:||建築與城鄉研究所|
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