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Reviewed by:
  • Handbook of Chinese Migration: Identity and Wellbeing ed. by Robyn R. Iredale and Fei Guo
  • C. Cindy Fan (bio)
Robyn R. Iredale and Fei Guo, editors Handbook of Chinese Migration: Identity and Wellbeing. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015. xiv, 330 pp. Hardcover $144.25, ISBN 978-1-78347-663-3.

What do a migrant worker from Henan sweeping the streets of Beijing and a highly-educated Chinese scientist in Australia have in common, aside from the fact that both are Chinese? By addressing both internal migration and international migration in one book, Robyn R. Iredale and Fei Guo have produced a unique edited volume that challenges readers with questions like this. Despite the diversity among internal migrants and the differences between them and international migrants, all face questions of identity, assimilation, settlement, belonging, well-being, inequality, global networks, translocality, and multilocality.

Sandwiched between an introductory chapter and a concluding chapter, Part I of the book is on internal migration and consists of seven chapters, and Part II is on international migrants and comprises five chapters. The [End Page 303] introductory chapter frames the book by placing Chinese migration in the world. It also provides an excellent review of the literature and terminologies.

In Chapter 2, Kam Wing Chan gives a review of the hukou system and how it has impacted migration, urbanization, and social, rural-urban and spatial stratifications. Using data from China's 2000 and 2010 censuses, in Chapter 3 Yu Zhu, Baoyu Xiao, and Liyue Lin analyze the changing spatial and temporal patterns of the floating population, the bulk of whom are rural-urban migrants. They conclude that the Yangtze River Delta has emerged as the most attractive destination of the floating population and that these migrants continue to have bi-local or even multi-local identities. Diving deeper into native-place identities and stereotyping, Margaret Maurer-Fazio, Rachel Connelly, and Ngoc-Han Thi Tran show in Chapter 4 that there is significant wage discrimination in Shanghai against male migrants from Henan, although this seems to be an exception to the generalization of no systemic evidence for place-based wage discrimination in migrants' labor markets. Focusing also on wage and using data from the Pearl River Delta, in Chapter 5 Zhiming Cheng, Ingrid Nielsen, and Russell Smyth find that male migrant workers and migrants working for private firms are more likely to have their wages withheld than other migrants. They also show that wage arrears influence migrants' subjective well-being by fostering a perception of difficult lives and lower status in the city.

Chapter 6 is concerned with the left-behind elderly in rural areas. While reporting that the elderly who have migrant children receive more money from their children and are healthier than those who do not have migrant children, Yue Zhuo and Zai Liang caution that their cross-sectional data may mask complexities such as the elderly and their children's life course stages. In Chapter 7, Jiaping Wu and Robyn R. Iredale examine the planned resettlement of ethnic minorities, focusing on Guizhou. They critique top-down displacement for neglecting consultation and negotiation and for failing to take into account the values, lifestyles, and cultures of the people who are being moved. Identity construction, exclusion, and boundaries are the subject of Chapter 8. Here, Yeqing Huang and Fei Guo illustrate institutional boundaries, public-space boundaries, economic boundaries, and network boundaries that separate "us" (rural migrants) from "them" (urban people). Over time, the economic boundary has become more important.

Part II of the book begins with Chapter 9, where Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho outlines how return migration policies in China have changed over time, increasingly placing emphasis on the human capital value of overseas returnees and favoring returnees from North America. In Chapter 10, Weiwei Zhang and John R. Logan give an overview of the Chinese in the United States. Analyzing data from three censuses and other large-scale surveys, and using New York and Los Angeles as case studies, they describe the demographic, economic, and [End Page 304] spatial changes of the Chinese population and highlight their increased diversity. Chapter 11 is based on an ethnographic study of Chinese immigrants...


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pp. 303-306
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