Chinese New Migrants in Suriname: The Inevitability of by Paul B. Tjon Sie Fat

By Paul B. Tjon Sie Fat

This publication covers numerous features of recent chinese language Migration in Suriname within the Nineties and early 2000s. it truly is an ethnography of latest chinese language Migrants within the context of South- South migration, but in addition a primary ethnography of chinese language in Suriname, in addition to an research of Surinamese ethnic discourse and ethnopolitics. beginning within the Nineteen Nineties, renewed immigration from China replaced the dynamics of the Surinamese chinese language group, which built from a Hakka enclave to a culturally and linguistically diversified, smooth chinese language migrant staff. neighborhood positioning thoughts of chinese language had continually relied on ethnic entrepreneurship and political participation, yet have been now advanced via anti-immigrant sentiments.

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Extra resources for Chinese New Migrants in Suriname: The Inevitability of Ethnic Performing

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22 Yet in Suriname I and my siblings were third generation bearers of the Sino-Surinamese surname Tjon Sie Fat, which hardly resembles monosyllabic 張 that legends link to the mythical Yellow Emperor. At that personal level, Chinese identity is just one of multiple self-concepts that individuals derive from perceived membership of social groups, relevant to positive self-esteem. 23 Essential Chineseness may also enter analyses of Chinese identity through the back door. For instance, one should not automatically include terms such as ‘transnationalism’ or ‘diaspora identity’ in the structure of Chinese ethnicity in Suriname.

9 To complicate matters, ethnicity is not the same as ethnic identity. Ethnicity is a type of social cleavage which intersects with others such as gender and class. Social constructionist theories of ethnicity deny its natural or objective existence, but treat it as a fluid social construct that allows for multiple situational identities, while at the same time limiting identity claims. 10 Eriksen approaches ethnic identity as a socially constructed collective identity, although for him group identity in reference to ethnic categories that is central to an instrumentalist approach is not the issue.

Ethnographic data were gathered in Paramaribo where I lived, between 2001 and 2005, with three field trips to Nieuw Nickerie near the Guyanese border. Reasearch subjects were approached on the basis of formal categorization (such as immigrants with a passport from the People’s Republic of China), selfidentification (voluntarily selfidentifying as ‘Chinese’ in any sense), third-party identification (leaving the interpretation of socio-cultural markers such as language, emblematic culture and stereotypes, to others), and in contexts where Chinese ethnicity was clearly performative.

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