‘Vietnamese Londoners: Transnational Identities Through Community Networks’

James, Stephen. 2010. ‘Vietnamese Londoners: Transnational Identities Through Community Networks’. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

MED_thesis_James_2010.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (8MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This research examines Vietnamese in London, focusing on identity formation and
community networks through transnational activities. I argue that ‘the transnational’ is a
‘subset’ of migrant categories, and that Vietnamese transnational identities depend on the
measurable activities in which they are involved. Important aspects of this research are:
First, the Vietnamese are one of the first major non-British Commonwealth peoples to
migrate into the United Kingdom in the modern era. This has had implications related to
settlement into British society, overcome by the subsequent shift from refugee status to
transnational activity and identities, resulting in widespread Vietnamese transnational
networks. Second, the Vietnamese represent one of the first ‘quota’ refugee populations
granted entry into the UK. Refugees were accepted prior to entering Britain, and upon
arrival, government and private support structures were provided. Also, Vietnamese
refugees underwent mandatory dispersal across the UK, a detrimental situation prompting a
subsequent intra-Britain migration to urban centres, particularly London. Third, Vietnamese
communities in Britain have distinctive characteristics, making a study of identities and
networks an interesting and useful one, particularly in light of developing research in
transnational studies. These characteristics include the Vietnamese North-South cultural and
linguistic ‘divide’, the presence of Vietnamese and Chinese-background Vietnamese, and
differences in the timing and reasons for migration.

Key research questions relate to transnational activities, identities, and community networks
played out in the role, reach and specific pathways of those activities across national
borders. Key questions are: ‘What does it mean to be a transnationally active Vietnamese
Londoner?’ and ‘How are Vietnamese Londoners engaged in community-based
transnational networks?’ These questions are addressed using interviews, participant
observation, participation in Vietnamese-related conferences, and in informal conversations
on the street and in local Vietnamese shops. This research relates stories of contextualised
transnational identities linking Vietnamese from London across the globe.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


11 June 2010

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

30 Jan 2012 18:00

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 13:42



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)