Performing Sociability: The Chinese Baristas’ Everyday Social Interactions in Bologna, Italy
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AbstractCoffee bars are commonly seen as symbols of Italian urban culture and of local neighborhood identity. However, since the economic recession of 2008, many coffee bars have been taken over by the Chinese immigrants in Northern-Central Italy. Both Italian media coverage and ordinary people have showed the concerns and worries about the loss of Italian culture. Nevertheless, local customers, who have ever had the experience with the Chinese barista, are often impressed by their good service, proper manners, and extraordinary cordiality. Many of them believe that there must be a kind of typical Chinese sociability. However, does Chinese sociability, differentiated from the Italian one, really exist?
Based on 14-months ethnographic research in Bologna, this paper will demonstrate how Chinese migrants practice entrepreneurship, while negotiating cultural differences with host society in the routine context of everyday life. It will argue that the unique and homogeneous Chinese sociability is only a myth. The extraordinary cordiality is one of the cultural strategies deployed by many Chinese businesspeople to overcome the racial and ethnic boundaries and compensate for cultural incompetence in the management of coffee bars. In this process, ethnicity and gender are intertwined to play an active role in their everyday sociability. It will explore that Chinese baristas do not passively adapt themselves to the cultural environment of coffee bars, but actively participate into the construction of a segregated and distinctive social space through a set of practices of sociability.
All Author(s) ListTING DENG
Name of ConferenceInternational Workshop: Global South Perspectives
Start Date of Conference20/04/2017
End Date of Conference20/04/2017
Country/Region of ConferenceHong Kong
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2018-09-10 at 17:01