Networks without borders: The building of Chinese ethnicity in Rome
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This dissertation concerns the origins and development of the twentieth and twenty-first century migration of Chinese to Europe, Italy, Rome, and one neighborhood within Rome. My work problematizes and complicates ethnicity and identity, which I find to be variable and unstable; nation and state, which I find not to be necessarily central, but situationally relevant, to the migrants' building of identity and to group formation; and Chinese-ness itself, which I also find to be situationally constructed to the extent region, family, and dialect may be more central ordinarily to the building of identity and to group formation. The novelty of my approach is that it goes beyond binary studies of migrations (i.e., the history of an ethnic group in a specific host country). It is informed and engages with theories of transnationalism but goes beyond transnational migration studies as it looks at bottom up ethnographies of localities in both sending and receiving communities and discusses individual stories within a global perspective. My research is based on primary sources, oral history accounts, and ethnographic fieldwork I have conducted both in China and Italy.