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The Construction Of Community: Family, Kin, Social Networks

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Chapter Summary

Chinese migration patterns in the colonial period tended to be initially male-only, with significant female immigration and kin regroupment occurring only many years subsequently. This chapter looks at the functioning of early settler communities, in particular the creation of family, religious and social networks. It also charts the modes of adaptation and reaffirmation of a Chinese identity over subsequent generations. Over the first half of the 20th century, the tendency towards urbanization of the Chinese community continued. During this period, Chinese immigration gradually dried up, and the migrants' descendants became Sino-Mauritians. The social work of nuns such as Sister Barthèlemy, born Amélie Raynaud in 1840, and who became a nun in 1862, played a part in exposing the Chinese to the charitable values of Catholics. Today's overseas Chinese are no longer faced with the choice of assimilation or "confinement to a cultural enclave", but may articulate a multiplicity of identities.

Keywords: Chinese community; Chinese identity; Chinese settlers; Sino-Mauritian



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