Everyday Citizenship: Pakistanis in Hong Kong

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Previous citizenship studies often focus on the individual-state relationship. However, citizenship cannot exist without a multitude of relationships in the community. Citizens interact with other individuals, groups and institutional agencies within and outside their community to co-create citizenship in everyday life settings. This study goes beyond the focus on individual-state relationship and extends it to social interactions in everyday life. The analysis is based on ethnographic and interview data of57 Hong Kong Pakistanis located in Hong Kong and the UK. It examines how citizenship acquisition is decided in relation to the formation of self and in the family. It further examines how citizenship happens in the society as resources in daily social interactions. The findings suggest that citizenship acquisition is not purely instrumental, nor individualised. It is closely connected with one’s identities, emotional attachment, and senses of belonging, to the family, to one’s country of origin, and even to the host society. It is also decided within the family and is pursued collectively as a family project. The findings highlight individuals’ agency in deploying strategies to overcome stress and negotiate with family members in the process of citizenship acquisition. Besides, the findings show that citizenship is an unnoticed but ready-to-use resource in everyday life, for ethnic minorities to strategically claim equal treatment when they face discrimination in the host society. All in all, this study contributes to citizenship study by advancing a new concept “everyday citizenship”, extending its focus to social interactions in everyday life, as well as proposing the emotional aspect and agency of citizenship. 過往公民研究集中關注個人與國家之間的關係,但現實上,公民身份不能獨立於多樣社會關係而孤自存在。公民每天都在日常生活,透過與群體內外的個人、社群和制度代理人互動,共構公民身份。本研究將公民研究範圍由個人與國家擴展至日常生活之社會互動,根據57 個居住於香港及英國的香港巴基斯坦人的訪問和民族誌,分析他們取得公民身份與自我及家庭決策的關係,以及在日常生活對公民身份的使用。研究顯示取得公民身份並不純綷為功利計算和出於個人主義,而是與個人身份、情感依附、和對家庭,對原生國,甚至對東道國社會之歸屬感密不可分。取得公民身份與否亦由家庭共同決定,並由家人通力完成。另外,結果發現個人會使用不同策略去應對放棄原生國籍的壓力,以及與意見不合的家人協商,盡顯個人能動性。此外,結果亦顯示公民身份對少數族裔來說是一種鮮為人知,卻又唾手可得的資源;在面對日常歧視時,他們以公民身份來爭取平等代遇。總的來說,本研究提出「日常公民」的概念,以研究公民身份之日常互動、公民的情感及能動性來拓展公民研究的研究範疇,並以此為公民研究文獻作出貢獻。

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