How marginality leads to inclusion: insights from mobilizations of Chinese female migrants in Paris

Article de Ya-Han Chuang & Hélène Le Bail paru dans le Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies

This article examines the collective actions undertaken by two groups of Chinese female migrants in Paris: sex workers who opposed a new law on prostitution, and manicurists who joined trade unions and went on strike. These women share similar geographical origins and migration projects; many came to France alone, and thus have much weaker social capital than other Chinese migrants in Paris, which pushed them to choose professional sectors viewed as marginal or even stigmatized. Despite their precarious situation, their marginal position has created conditions for collective action, enabling them to develop strong sense of collective belonging and receive support from organizations outside the community. These findings show how a marginal position in an ethnic community can be a triggering factor for migrants’ inclusion and political engagement in the host society.

KEYWORDS: Chinese women, migration, mobilization, marginalization, citizenship, undocumented migrants

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