A sociological study of the Chinese people in Aberdeen and Elgin with special reference to the catering business
Chinese diaspora in the past seemed to have demonstrated a homeland orientation which made them more likely to cling onto the originating culture and society. This research aims at studying whether and to what extent the homeland orientation of the Chinese people has shifted over time and space. Aberdeen and Elgin were chosen as the bases for data collection. The economic establishment of the Chinese people from dependant migrants to independent businessmen is discussed in detail. The economic institutions which lead to the establishment of a career enclave within catering is also examined. The communal development of the Aberdeen and the Elgin Chinese is studied in terms of the three bases of internal solidarity, i.e., economics, religious faith and kin relations, which work in different ways in the two localities. Due to its uniqueness and its significance to the Elgin Chinese, their True Jesus Church is analysed in greater depth. Bearing in mind the economic and communal development of the Chinese people, the shift in homeland orientation is then examined by using Watson's study of the Mans (1975) as a base line. My findings show that the majority of my Chinese subjects no longer contemplate a return to their homeland. However, most of them would like to retain their cultural distinctiveness in Britain. To a certain extent, the primary point of reference for the Chinese seems to have shifted from the homeland to Britain. This shift is explained tentatively in terms of a transfer of the traditional power hierarchy of the family during migration. Also, the Elgin Chinese conform more to the overall pattern. Their relative uniformity and satisfaction with their lives after migration is explained in terms of the reconstitution of the True Jesus Church which caters for their many social and practical needs.