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Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World

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In 2004, Vanessa Fong offered a groundbreaking ethnographic exploration of the social, economic, and psychological development of children born since China's one-child policy was introduced in 1979. Her book Only Hope left readers with a picture of stressed, ambitious adolescents for whom elite status was the ultimate goal, though relatively few were in a position to achie In 2004, Vanessa Fong offered a groundbreaking ethnographic exploration of the social, economic, and psychological development of children born since China's one-child policy was introduced in 1979. Her book Only Hope left readers with a picture of stressed, ambitious adolescents for whom elite status was the ultimate goal, though relatively few were in a position to achieve it. In Paradise Redefined, Fong tracks the experiences of many in her initial cohort of Chinese only-children—now college-age—as they study abroad in Australia, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, North America, and Singapore. While earning a prestigious college education in China is the main path to elite status, study abroad provides an alternative channel by offering a particularly flexible "developed world" citizenship. This flexible citizenship promises the potential for greater happiness and freedom afforded by transnational mobility, but also brings with it unexpected suffering, ambivalence, and disappointment. Paradise Redefined offers insights into China's globalization by examining the expectations and experiences that affect how various Chinese students make decisions about studying abroad, staying abroad, immigration, and returning home.


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In 2004, Vanessa Fong offered a groundbreaking ethnographic exploration of the social, economic, and psychological development of children born since China's one-child policy was introduced in 1979. Her book Only Hope left readers with a picture of stressed, ambitious adolescents for whom elite status was the ultimate goal, though relatively few were in a position to achie In 2004, Vanessa Fong offered a groundbreaking ethnographic exploration of the social, economic, and psychological development of children born since China's one-child policy was introduced in 1979. Her book Only Hope left readers with a picture of stressed, ambitious adolescents for whom elite status was the ultimate goal, though relatively few were in a position to achieve it. In Paradise Redefined, Fong tracks the experiences of many in her initial cohort of Chinese only-children—now college-age—as they study abroad in Australia, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, North America, and Singapore. While earning a prestigious college education in China is the main path to elite status, study abroad provides an alternative channel by offering a particularly flexible "developed world" citizenship. This flexible citizenship promises the potential for greater happiness and freedom afforded by transnational mobility, but also brings with it unexpected suffering, ambivalence, and disappointment. Paradise Redefined offers insights into China's globalization by examining the expectations and experiences that affect how various Chinese students make decisions about studying abroad, staying abroad, immigration, and returning home.

36 review for Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marica Dell'Olio

    Vanessa Fong's Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World (2004) addresses the increasing transnational flow of students from China, who are playing a key role as agents of globalization. Built on previous research on the first generation of Chinese born after the one-child policy began in 19791, the focus of her most recent book is on 92 Chinese singleton students she had the chance to know in Dalian in the late 1990s and who Vanessa Fong's Paradise Redefined: Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World (2004) addresses the increasing transnational flow of students from China, who are playing a key role as agents of globalization. Built on previous research on the first generation of Chinese born after the one-child policy began in 19791, the focus of her most recent book is on 92 Chinese singleton students she had the chance to know in Dalian in the late 1990s and who decided to study abroad in countries such as Japan, Singapore, Australia, USA, Canada, Ireland, or Britain. All of them were born with Chinese citizenship in mainland China. The aim of the book is to show what made transnational Chinese students in her study decide to go abroad, how this decision transformed them, with a particular emphasis on personal interactions and feelings. Also, as the title suggests, the book aims to shed light on how the images of China and of the country where they lived have changed, leading them to redefine what they considered “paradise”.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ly

    A very rich and poignant ethnography. Fong uses clear and accessible language to explain deeply complex phenomena and processes of transnational migration. Going from broad trends to personal anecdotes, Fong covered all bases, creating a comprehensive and convincing work of longitudinal ethnography. At the same time, the work is deeply relatable. I can see myself in the lives of Fong's subjects. A very rich and poignant ethnography. Fong uses clear and accessible language to explain deeply complex phenomena and processes of transnational migration. Going from broad trends to personal anecdotes, Fong covered all bases, creating a comprehensive and convincing work of longitudinal ethnography. At the same time, the work is deeply relatable. I can see myself in the lives of Fong's subjects.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fnouristani

    A through study of approximately 100 students from China that travel to developed countries for education and the consequences that encounter. Some are successful and but most are not. An interesting read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Liu

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pernille Tidemann

  6. 5 out of 5

    2010

  7. 5 out of 5

    Clara Buie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Shan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy Erickson

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mikshs

  12. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Akey

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily Grubbe

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura Stahl

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christi Sullivan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Guo

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Bartelheim

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yux

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jing Zhao

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  26. 5 out of 5

    2010

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aishe

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Momoko

  30. 5 out of 5

    Federica

  31. 4 out of 5

    Becca Albert

  32. 5 out of 5

    Utmost Cookie

  33. 4 out of 5

    Mira

  34. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Olausen

  36. 5 out of 5

    Luu Yu

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