Repurposing field analysis for a relational and reflexive sociology of Chinese diasporas

Guanglun Michael Mu, Bonnie Pang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


In this paper, we engage with Chinese diasporas research through recourse to Bourdieu’s relational, reflexive sociology. We start with the historical and recent developments of Chinese diasporas research and point out the potential of using Bourdieu to strengthen the theoretical underpinnings of this research. While we see a steady stream of Bourdieu-informed Chinese diasporas studies and acknowledge their contribution and innovation, we observe that some studies use Bourdieu’s capital and/or habitus without field. In response, we draw on Bourdieu’s relationalism to highlight the significance of ‘fielding’ Chinese diasporas research. In addition, we turn field analysis onto Chinese diasporas researcher-selves through Bourdieu’s reflexive tool of participant objectivation. In this vein, we ponder over the positions and position-takings of Chinese diasporas researchers within and beyond the academic field of Chinese diasporas. To conclude the paper, we make a call to shift the intellectual landscape by developing a research agenda to sociologise Chinese diasporas challenged by complex and difficult issues of power, politics, and participation. Our critical sociological approach may have implications for doing scholarship reflexively and relationally in other research fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2121-2132
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number12
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


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