Chinese Families Down Under: The Role of the Family in the Construction of Identity, 1920-1960

Tan, Carole A. (2001) Chinese Families Down Under: The Role of the Family in the Construction of Identity, 1920-1960. In Migrating Identities and Ethnic Minorities in Chinese Diaspora, September 2001, Centre for the Study of Chinese Southern Diaspora, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. (Unpublished)


During the years of the White Australia Policy Chinese families struggled to survive on the margins of mainstream Australian society. The attitudes of Chinese parents and grandparents towards dealing with the outside world and becoming part of mainstream society, and the strategies they developed for doing this successfully, had significant impact not only on the survival of the family but also on the lives and identities of the second- and third-generation. Using an interdisciplinary approach and drawing from the personal narratives of multi-generational Chinese Australians, this paper explores the role of family as ‘gatekeepers’ of the boundaries between the Chinese home and wider society. It considers the effect of this ‘gatekeeping’ on the opportunities and constraints experienced by the second- and third-generation in terms of gaining access to and functioning successfully in mainstream Australian life. At the same time it looks at the multifarious ways in which diverse meanings attached to ‘Chineseness’ shifted across generations as second- and third-generation Chinese Australians re-invented and re-constructed ‘Chineseness’ in ways that were relevant and meaningful for them.

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ID Code: 916
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Chinese, Australians, Australian, born Chinese, oral history, history, Australia
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) (210303)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:23

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