The Political Resocialization of International Migrants and their Political Talk: The Case of Young Qualified Chinese in Paris

Participating in the Chinese World: Connected Young People
By Simeng Wang

By focusing on young, first generation Chinese migrants, who came to France in the 2000s, live in the Paris region and hold school certificates and economic, social and cultural resources, this article analyzes the process of their political resocialization and their political talk. In this young and qualified group, the question of the process of political resocialization becomes obvious, since they grew up in an authoritarian context and then immigrated to a democratic country. Using an ethnographic approach, the author observes the political expression of the respondents during their everyday sociability, both online and offline. Comments on French and Chinese news, online group discussions, demonstrations, and public lectures—among others—are analyzed. The author first notes the impact of the political context in which the individual is placed on his or her political participation. When changing their living environment and political regime, these respondents learn citizenship and appropriate themselves various forms of expression of political opinion. At the same time, the author shows that the relationship between these respondents and politics differs, due to the social properties of each individual and his or her disposition toward politics. Some, often trained in human and social sciences, act as intermediaries in the flow of cross-border political information and in that way actively participate in the democratization of Chinese society. Conversely, others—often those working in the economic sector—show a certain lack of interest for democratic issues in Chinese society. Finally, the author defends the idea that the political expression of the respondents varies according to the conditions of expression, the audience and the plurality of their intellectual, professional, emotional, and humanitarian investments.


  • political resocialization
  • political participation
  • political talk
  • international migration
  • Chinese
  • skilled migrants
  • youth
  • France
  • citizenship
  • democratization
  • China
  • ethnography
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