Toward transnational identity? The reconstruction of Hakka identity in Thailand

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Abstract

The Hakka people (Hakkas) are a global cultural ethnic group. This article explored the experiences of the Hakkas in Thailand. One major ethnic minority in Thailand is the Chinese people (14 percent of the total population) who engage in businesses and commerce throughout the country. Fifty-six percent of the Chinese are Chaozhounese, and 16 percent are Hakkas. This article argued that the Thai-Hakka identity is a transnational construction mobilized by multiple agencies at the local, national, and global levels. This identity is a result of the negotiation from the common motherland (China) in the past, the new modern Hakka discourse and the multicultural policy (Taiwan), and the complex ethnic experiences and interactions in everyday life (Thailand). Compared to the traditional diaspora viewpoint (pluri-locally distributed, with a strong identity to the motherland), the Thai-Hakka identity has gravitated towards a new path of transnational identity (pluri-locally distributed, without a clear centre–periphery relation).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-234
Number of pages24
JournalAsian Ethnicity
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Chinese Overseas
  • Hakka Studies
  • Thai Studies
  • transnational identity

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