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Winnie Lem

This article explores the implications of a neo-liberal transition to political activism among immigrants with small businesses. It focuses specifically on Chinese migrants in Paris who generally pursue livelihoods based on petty capitalism and who eschewed the mobilizations in France in the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006. Drawing on Bourdieu's idea of habitus, the political and economic forces that influence the possibilities for contentiousness and compliance among different classes of French citizens are examined as they confront changes in citizenship regimes that accompany the transition to neo-liberalism. It is suggested that the ideologies of entrepreneurship and its practices are fostered by neo-liberal regimes as a means of integrating and creating model citizens, who accept rather than challenge the prevailing political order.

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Introduction

Migrants, mobility, and mobilization

Pauline Gardiner Barber and Winnie Lem

This issue brings together the work of researchers who seek to illuminate the class configurations of contemporary global diasporas. Contributions proceed by problematizing the relationship between political mobilization and the class locations of women and men as they negotiate and renegotiate the social conditions under which they make a living as émigrés, people who are subject to and participants in the processes of global change. Although class and culture, as well as mobility and fixity, are often presented as oppositional lenses though which to view global transformations, articles in this issue explore the possibilities for translation of particularized local or cultural concerns into broader collective mobilizations of class activism, nationalist claims, or struggles for entitlement in the circumscribed political spaces migrants seek to create. The gender, ethnic, local, national, and other cultural components of identity and class formation are made explicit as contributors question how and why political struggles and activism may, or indeed may not, be carried forward in geographic and social border crossings as well as citizenship and migration scenarios. It is the contention of each contributor that any instance of activism, and also its absence, requires sustained critical examination of the politics and economics of its production and reproduction.