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Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? - page 6 / 33





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ethnographic interviews conducted with economic migrants from Hong

Kong living in Vancouver. This latter group are typically at older stages in

the life cycle, and thereby cast light upon the space-time positioning of

the returnees, who we argue are at a station now that may well not be

permanent, but rather represents one point in a life-long trajectory of

moves across the Pacific Ocean.

Transnational Hong Kong

Transnationalism invokes a travel plan that is continuous not

finite. Immigrants never quite arrive at their destination because they

never quite leave home. Indeed the whole problematic of ‘home’ can

become extraordinarily complex in an age with increasing levels of dual

citizenship, short-term contracts and visas, family members located on

opposite sides of national boundaries, and fast and ever cheaper lines of

contact between nations. The life-world of the transnational migrant is

stretched across space (Jackson et al 2004); as one of our informants

told us, the Hong Kong migrant would like to work in Hong Kong and

sleep in Canada.

Much of the early transnational literature has been concerned with

the relatively short and inexpensive movements between American cities

and migrant origins in Central America and the Caribbean islands. In

this research, in contrast, we are considering longer range movement, a

more costly trans-Pacific air journey of 12-13 hours between Hong Kong

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