Italian-schooled Chinese migrant youth in Prato: The liability of outsidership and social identity formation

Loretta Baldassar, Adua Elizabeth Paciocco

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Chinese migrant youth in Prato are characterized by heterogeneity. This chapter reports on a select group-Italian-schooled Chinese migrant youth-and their complex social identities. Their parents are Chinese migrant business operators or workers who are arguably defined by a liability of outsidership, because they are external to mainstream business networks. On finishing their education, these young people claim they will most likely work in Chinese-run businesses in Prato. Data for this chapter are drawn from semi-structured interviews where the group self-identify, discuss their relationships with non-Italian-schooled Chinese peers, their friendship group preferences, their sense of belonging, and their language repertoires. The interview data suggest that these young people have locally produced, translocal Chinese-Italian social identities. Their sense of Chinese identity develops in the context of strong nation-state and local discourses of othering, and because their parents are external to local Italian social and business networks. The young peoples' sense of Italian identity develops through their participation in Italian social life; however, it is limited to muted self-ascription. We argue that this identity position provides the Italian-schooled youth with both cultural and social capital. This capital can help to develop weak ties with the Italian business community, and could potentially break down the liability of outsidership that characterizes their parents' Chinese businesses in Prato. The social identities of these young people are characterised as translocal because they are shaped in Chinese and Italian cultural spaces in Prato, which hold the promise for improved integration for future generations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNative and Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Subtitle of host publicationLessons for Local Liabilities in Globalization from the Prato Case Study
EditorsSimone Guercini, Gabi Dei Ottati, Loretta Baldassar, Graeme Johanson
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherSpringer
Chapter6
Pages97-113
Number of pages17
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9783319441115
ISBN (Print)9783319441108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Chinese migration
  • Chinese youth
  • Italian immigration
  • Second generation
  • Social identity

Cite this

Baldassar, L., & Paciocco, A. E. (2017). Italian-schooled Chinese migrant youth in Prato: The liability of outsidership and social identity formation. In S. Guercini, G. Dei Ottati, L. Baldassar, & G. Johanson (Eds.), Native and Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Lessons for Local Liabilities in Globalization from the Prato Case Study (1st ed., pp. 97-113). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44111-5_6