Beyond Ethnic Enclave: Social Integration of Chinese Immigrants in Paris‘s “Little Asia”


  • Anqi Chen University of Cambridge
  • Yongxin Lu London School of Economics



social integration, Chinese diaspora, ethnic minorities, political engagement


This paper studies the integration of Chinese immigrants in the Triangle de Choisy neighborhood in Paris, which is known for being an exotic hub of Chinese commercial and cultural activities. Based on Serge Paugam‘s model, we investigated the social integration of Chinese residents in the neighborhood. Our ndings show that while dense social bonds allowed for better connection, our respondents are generally reluctant to address political engagement, which Paugam (2017) considers as one of the four key aspects of social integration. The apparent result seems to con rm the so-called Chinese ethics of diligent work and political indi erence. However, after closer examination, we found diverse forms of participation that have not been captured by the conventional ethnic- centric understanding of political engagement. First, universalistic welfare policies reduced incentives for community-based mobilization. Second, a high level of internal heterogeneity within the community and exclusion of ethnic-particularistic experience in mainstream politics both led to individualized, subtle forms of participation. By situating individual political choice within their particular memories and life histories and reconceptualizing minorities‘ political engagement beyond ethnicity, more forms of political engagement can be understood and appreciated. Finally, we argue that the conventional ethnic-centred understanding of minority political participation needs to be challenged.