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Locally Embedded Cosmopolitans? European Millennials’ Boundary Work in Singapore and Tokyo


Hof, Helena (2020). Locally Embedded Cosmopolitans? European Millennials’ Boundary Work in Singapore and Tokyo. In: Suter, Brigitte; Åkesson, Lisa. Contemporary European Emigration. London: Routledge, 39-57.

Abstract

Based on an ethnographic study of predominantly white millennial Europeans in Singapore and Tokyo, this chapter argues that their boundary-making practices pinpoint the tension between what they deem to be cosmopolitan aspirations and their desire for embeddedness in the host cities. I focus on two separate domains where the migrants’ dilemma manifests, housing in Singapore and friendships in Tokyo, and argue that these Europeans strive for differentiation from the senior European expatriate community. While the millennial migrants regard integration into Singaporean and Japanese networks as a way to satisfy their cosmopolitan longings and as a proof of their cosmopolitan competence, structural circumstances and cultural differences increasingly push them towards an internationally-minded majoritarian foreign community. The comparative approach offers valuable insights into the dilemmas that occur when cosmopolitan ideals prove to be incompatible with migrants’ longing for embeddedness and demonstrates the changing nature of contemporary Europeans’ migration to Asian metropoles.

Abstract

Based on an ethnographic study of predominantly white millennial Europeans in Singapore and Tokyo, this chapter argues that their boundary-making practices pinpoint the tension between what they deem to be cosmopolitan aspirations and their desire for embeddedness in the host cities. I focus on two separate domains where the migrants’ dilemma manifests, housing in Singapore and friendships in Tokyo, and argue that these Europeans strive for differentiation from the senior European expatriate community. While the millennial migrants regard integration into Singaporean and Japanese networks as a way to satisfy their cosmopolitan longings and as a proof of their cosmopolitan competence, structural circumstances and cultural differences increasingly push them towards an internationally-minded majoritarian foreign community. The comparative approach offers valuable insights into the dilemmas that occur when cosmopolitan ideals prove to be incompatible with migrants’ longing for embeddedness and demonstrates the changing nature of contemporary Europeans’ migration to Asian metropoles.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:27 Nov 2020 08:37
Last Modified:28 Nov 2020 19:06
Publisher:Routledge
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429202018-3

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