My own business, not my children’s: negotiating funeral rites and the mobility and communication juncture among Chinese migrants in Melbourne

Gil Soo Han, Helen Forbes-Mewett, Wilfred Yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The article analyses cross-generational negotiations of funeral rites of Chinese migrants in Melbourne, Australia. It discusses the intersections between migration and death, with reference to the meaning of death and funeral rites linking multiple generations in migrant life. These intersections create a ‘mobility juncture’ to engrain their legacy and communicate across generations. We interviewed 36 Chinese migrants and 5 funeral professionals. Data analysis showed that the participants were open to discussing death, funeral preparation, and pre-purchasing a grave-plot. The socio-economically independent life style in Australia has brought about changes to their perception and preparation of their final journey. Yet, the significance of the grave-site as a point of communication between the past and the present/future remains, naturally leading to active construction of a communication juncture. Strong incentives for preparing their own funeral and burial place included a wish to ease the burden for their children and a lack of confidence in their children’s knowledge and future implementation of diverse Chinese funeral rites. Filial piety and family values remain significant, but they continue to undergo changes in the Australian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalMobilities
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 May 2018

Keywords

  • cemetery
  • Chinese migrants
  • ethnic identities
  • filial piety
  • funeral
  • memorialisation
  • Mobility juncture

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