Decentring the Majority–Minority Paradigm: A Multidimensional Conceptualization of Inter-ethnic Relations Based on a Study of Chinese Canadians

A. Ka Tat Tsang, Vivian W.Y. Leung, Weijia Tan*, Deng Min Chuang, Ran Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Inter-ethnic research has been dominated by studies on majority–minority relations. The limited studies on relations among ethnic minority groups are usually restricted to a focus on attitudes and the cognitive domain, with little attention to actual behaviours. As Canada becomes increasingly diverse, it calls for a greater need in examining the interpersonal relationships among ethnic minority groups. A study originally designed to look at intra-group dynamics generated results that led the authors to decentre the dominant majority–minority view and explore inter-ethnic engagements. This report examines the subjective sense-making, actual performance, and management of inter-ethnic relations from Chinese Canadians’ perspectives. Data from individual interviews and focus groups with thirty-five Chinese Canadians show a multidimensional picture: factors such as participants’ needs, circumstances, characteristics, and capacities play a more significant role in shaping relationship development and maintenance. Results also reveal the complex and contingent nature of the sense-making and management of inter-ethnic relationships. These findings call for a more holistic view of individuals’ experiences that include cognitive, affective, and behavioural dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Ethnic minority
  • Inter-ethnic relations
  • Minority–minority relationship
  • Social distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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