The influence of travel in formulating cultural identity: the case of the Sarawakian-Chinese
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AbstractThis research study examines the influence of travel and tourism in formulating cultural identity within the Sarawakian-Chinese community, with a special focus on travel to the People‟s Republic of China (PRC), the 'ancestral homeland'. Given the nature of this study, an interpretive paradigm that is informed by the use of a qualitative methodology was employed. In keeping with this research paradigm, interpretive ethnography was utilised to investigate how the Sarawakian-Chinese understand their sense of 'Chineseness' based upon their tourism experiences to China. The research enquiry also includes researcher reflexivity as part of the research process, as the identity of the researcher is significant in this study that investigates the identity of her 'own' people. The findings of the research suggest that the Sarawakian-Chinese perceive China as being significant in constructing their ethnic identity. It is also apparent that there is a commonality of being 'Chinese', however the extent of this association varies by characteristics of age, education, religion and language. Within this association there is also an element of 'pick and mix' of culture, which was observed during the field visit to China, as members of the group evaluated different aspects of Chinese culture. The research study concludes that the experiences of the Sarawakian-Chinese in China highlighted their similarities and differences to the Chinese identity. It is evident that although all Sarawakian-Chinese feel themselves to be at least Chinese in an essentialist context, their degree of 'Chineseness' is affected by Sarawak culture, especially religion and education. They also make a clear distinction between Sarawak as 'home' and China as the 'homeland' with their travel and tourism experiences have served to highlight their sense of hybridity of being Sarawakian-Chinese.
CitationChing, C.T.C. (2009) 'The influence of travel in formulating cultural identity: the case of the Sarawakian-Chinese'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Bedfordshire. Author's name given variously as Caroline Tie and as Caroline Tie Chin Ching.
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