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CHINESE BUSINESSMEN AND “LEADERS” IN MADRID: POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC PRACTICES

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Author(s): Débora Betrisey Nadali

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 92;
Start page: 207;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Madrid | immigration | China | diaspora | entrepreneurs | community leaders

ABSTRACT
This article analyses the emergence of “leaders” of the Chinese community in Madrid, based on a study of a conflict that was brief but significant; specifically, the social protests carried out by shopkeepers and workers in the central district of Lavapiés in 2005 and 2006, and who were protesting against a controversial municipal regulations on trade. What is interesting about this study is the way that it analyses – through this experience of the mobilisation and representation of their community – the way in which these “leaders” were constituted as political entities, with links to the main relevant social actors (associationist movements, political parties and economic groups in Madrid) and how they co-opted a certain ability to represent the collective by incorporating such complex, symbolic elements as “being Chinese”, social class, affiliation to local parties and discourses on belonging to the welcoming country. The analysis shows, furthermore, that the various expressions of ethnicity do not represent a fixed, inert reality, but rather a dynamic process which, in addition to the actual paths of the main characters, takes shape based on the context in which it is immersed.
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