Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 24 Issue 1 (January/February 2014), Pages 1-73

Multiple Senses of Community Among Older Chinese Migrants to New Zealand (pages 26-36)

ABSTRACT

Existing literature suggests that successful ageing is linked to a sense of community (SOC) that is developed through shared daily practices. For migrant groups, SOC can extend across home and receiving countries. In order to understand the issue of successful ageing in place and multiple SOCs among older Chinese migrants, this paper investigated 32 older Chinese migrants' narratives of developing a SOC in their local and home communities. Findings suggest that a SOC can be viewed as constructed through practices such as neighbouring and supportive interactions within local contexts as well as engagement with the home country via new media. The findings provide insights into everyday practices central to the cultivation of a SOC among the participants whose engagements span the cultural spaces of China and New Zealand. For example, the use of media contributes to the participants' SOCs both in China and New Zealand. As a result, they live in a transnational community that can be understood as an ‘imagined’ community where the participants engage with significant, although absent, Chinese others. Living between China and New Zealand, between homes and between languages, the participants create identity ‘inbetweenness’ that is constructed at the intersection of interdependent, compatible and mutually reinforcing communities and spaces. The findings therefore extend conventional understandings of ageing migrant experiences that assume successful ageing and community participation occur in one locale to an understanding of multiple SOCs within the context of transnationalism. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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