Imagining and Linking Latin America: Chinese Regional Mobilities and Social Networks in Chile

Abstract / Resumen / Resumo

Studies of relations between China and Latin America have largely focused on economic and political relations between the Chinese state and specific countries in the region, or examined the experiences of Chinese migrants in Latin American countries. This is also true in studies of China-Chile relations. Drawing on ongoing ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with ethnic Chinese persons in Santiago, Chile, this article examines how “China” and “Latin America” are mutually constituted and negotiated through ethnic Chinese intra-regional geographical mobilities and social networks. These mobilities and networks illustrate that “China-Latin America relations” are not disembodied macro-processes. Instead, they constitute and dramatically shape the lives and opportunities of ethnic Chinese persons in the Americas. I attending to the concrete ways these persons exchange and create information, and negotiate complex regional identities and networks, in response to historical and contemporary geopolitical uncertainties. In doing so, this article provides an important ground-up perspective to the shifting power dynamics between China and Latin America.