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Chinese citizenship ‘after orientalism’ : academic narratives on internal migrants in China.

Jakimów, Małgorzata (2012) 'Chinese citizenship ‘after orientalism’ : academic narratives on internal migrants in China.', Citizenship studies., 16 (5-6). pp. 657-671.


In this article I enquire into the possibility of citizenship ‘after orientalism’ by examining the writing of Chinese academics on internal migrants in China. The popular narratives on migrants represent them as ‘peasant workers in need of becoming urban citizens’. These representations are based on an understanding of citizenship as necessarily urban and modern, which is reminiscent of Weber's theory of citizenship, and is based on mechanisms of ‘internal orientalism’. I argue that contrary to the popular understanding of ‘post-oriental’ as ‘resistance to the West’, it is the process of the boundary-transgression between rural and urban, rather than non-Western ideas of citizenship, that opens space for citizenship ‘after orientalism’ in China. This process of boundary-transgression can be mapped through new practices of naming and narrative-setting in the literature on internal migrants, which emphasise subjective character of group boundaries and appeal for recognition of rural and migrant identities. It is through these instances of boundary-transgression between urban and rural that the orientalism embedded within the notion of citizenship in China is challenged.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Citizenship Studies on 30 Aug 2012, available online:
Date accepted:02 April 2012
Date deposited:14 September 2018
Date of first online publication:30 August 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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