Accepted paper:

Chinese imaginary through the lenses of Hungarian eyes: mixed families' perceptions of cultural otherness in Hungary

Authors:

Nóra Kovács (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The proposed paper explores cultural imaginaries, notions and values that are at play in shaping the dynamics of Chinese-Hungarian married, cohabiting and dating couples, and separated or divorced couples.

Paper long abstract:

Researchers tackling the problem of integration of Chinese migrants arriving in Hungary since 1990 into local Hungarian society agree that the existence of Chinese-Hungarian mixed marriages is not typical. Field research has shown that there are Chinese-Hungarian mixed couples, although their exact number is not known, but it seems low compared to the size of the Chinese population in Hungary. Scholarly literature suggests that the central reason for this is not to be found in endogamous norms valid among Chinese immigrants. Based on data gathered through anthropological fieldwork and semi-structured interviews with members of Chinese-Hungarian married, cohabiting and dating couples, as well as members of separated or divorced couples, the proposed paper explores cultural imaginaries, notions and values that are at play in shaping the dynamics of these relations. Taking the viewpoint of members of the host society as a point of departure it seeks to understand how distance and closeness is created and manifested in cultural terms. It focuses on how everyday practices of living together, language use, childrearing strategies, and work attitudes of Chinese-Hungarian couples reflect the relative positions of power of two different cultural backgrounds within the relationship. Furthermore, it explores how transnationalism, spatial mobility, simultaneous ties to different places appear in the lives of mixed marriage-based families.

panel Mig003
Imaginaries of migration: identity and belonging