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Up in the air: examining the experiences of Chinese mainland “satellite children” in Vancouver

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Author: Li, Henry
This thesis seeks to better understand a unique migrant group, Mainland Chinese “astronaut” families, through an examination of the experiences of “satellite” children. Employing an interpretivist-idealist perspective and using grounded theoretical qualitative methods, this study critically investigates the family practices and identity processes of these migrants. Using data from eight in-depth interviews with young adults aged 21-32, this study explores how these actors practice complex cosmopolitan identities while alternating between “full” and “displaced” moments of family life. Results show that these individuals negotiate unique dual realities in which systemic alternation, or “world-switching”, becomes incorporated into daily life planning. Furthermore, their lives are filled with moments of self-suspension and sacrifice as they adhere to their familial obligations. Moreover, these young adults actively accept the notion of uncertain and unsteady futures within their own lives. Indeed, these “satellite kids” creatively negotiate these uncertainties while also staying practical and with careful optimism.
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Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Mitchell, Barbara
Member of collection
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