Living with 'Difference': Growing up 'Chinese' in White Australia

Tan, Carole A. (2003) Living with 'Difference': Growing up 'Chinese' in White Australia. Journal of Australian Studies, pp. 101-108.


While much of what has been written regarding the history of Chinese migrants in Australia centres around Chinese exclusion under the White Australia policy, there has been little exploration of the struggles encountered by the descendants of Chinese migrant families who grew up under the White Australia policy due to their precarious position as ‘undesirable Other’ within white Australian society. Using an interdisciplinary approach and drawing from the personal narratives of multi-generational Chinese Australians, this paper seeks to address this gap by focusing on the childhood experiences of Chinese Australians who grew up in white Australia - a time when for many Chinese Australians being Chinese represented a distinct handicap or liability. This paper looks closely at the inscription of 'difference' in the lives of Chinese Australians that occurred in through social encounters that took place at the interface of mundane everyday life and the wider (white) Australian community, analysing this differential process in relation to the societal meanings with which 'Chineseness' was commonly imbued, and demonstrating the diverse ways that 'Chineseness' became inscribed in the lives of multi-generational Chinese Australians whether they saw themselves as 'Chinese' or not.

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ID Code: 915
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: oral history, history, Australia, Chinese, Australians, Australian, born Chinese
ISSN: 1444-3058
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: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 International Australian Studies Association
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher: This journal is available online.
Deposited On: 23 Mar 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:23

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