Racialized (Im)mobilities: The Pandemic and Sinophobia in Australia

Sylvia Ang, Fethi Mansouri

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted countries all over the world, not only in relation to public health responses, but on multiple other societal levels. The pandemic has uncovered structural inequalities within and across societies and highlighted how race remains a powerful lens through which public policy responses are constructed and pursued. This paper examines (im)mobilities in Australia in the context of Asian, and more specifically Chinese-Australian citizens and residents, and how these have been framed in racialized discourses that justified exclusionary practices reminiscent of the White Australia ideology. The paper focuses on how Chinese Australians’ mobilities have been (mis)represented and attacked in public and political discourse with particular attention to the situation of Chinese international students’ (im)mobilities. Our conceptual attention in this paper, however, is not only on the racialization of mobilities but also immobilities, underpinned by an understanding of the relationality between Othered ‘migrants’ and hosts, as well as between mobility and immobility. We conclude by discussing future patterns of mobility, how these will impact prospective migrants including international students, and what future forms of mobilities might mean for Australia as a country highly dependent on migrants for its economic, social and cultural development.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • diversity
  • mobility
  • race relations
  • racialization
  • Sinophobia

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