Living Asian American Life in Beijing: Race and Identity in a Globalizing World
Globalization is the preeminent social force that is reshaping the contemporary world. China and its capital city, Beijing, has become one of the national and urban centers of globalization in the past two decades, attracting billions of dollars in foreign investment that has remade Beijing into one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The dizzying pace of economic and geographic growth has been only matched by the depth of social change that includes hundreds of thousands of foreigners who work and live in Beijing. Among the foreigners who now call Beijing home are significant number of Korean and Japanese nationals. The purpose of this paper is to examine the social and cultural lives of these foreign workers and their dependents in Beijing. The central argument of this paper is that both Korean and Japanese in Beijing pursue an "Asian American" life with U.S.-based social and cultural references playing a central role in shaping their social life and personal identity. The paper explores the complex set of reasons and consequences for their living the "Asian American" life and generates broader lessons on cultural formations of globalization.
Keywords: Globalization, transnationalism, Asian Americans, Identity
Dr. Edward Park
Associate Professor, Asian Pacific American Studies Program, Loyola Marymount University