Negotiations of identity and belonging : a case study of Chinese christian immigrants in Stavanger
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The aim of this thesis is to understand how Chinese Christian immigrants negotiate their identity and sense of belonging, and to investigate the following questions: 1) How do Chinese Christian immigrants negotiate their identities in a multicultural society like Norway? 2) How do they perceive their sense of belonging as immigrants? 3) What role does the Chinese church and their Christian beliefs have in shaping their identities and sense of belonging? To answer these questions, I rely on data obtained from qualitative research methods including in-depth interviews of nine Chinese Christian immigrants, and participant observation at the Nordic Chinese Christian Church of Stavanger. I propose that the lived experiences of Chinese Christians in Norway can be understood as ‘transnational,’ as migrants sustain ties to both host and origin societies, as well as co-ethnics around the world. These connections impact their identity and sense of belonging as immigrants facing new values and perspectives of their settlement country. I argue that this results in a negotiation process where migrants blend various aspects of both sending and receiving societies. I also argue that this negotiation of identity and belonging must be understood with notions of multiplicity and fluidity as the world is changing under globalization. Furthermore, I examine religion and migration, arguing that to understand Chinese Christians we must acknowledge the transnationalization of religious life and the increasing identification to non-territorial religious identity and belonging.
Master's thesis in global studies. VID Specialized University, Stavanger, May 2018