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Children's Experience and Practice of Belonging: The Realities of Integration among De Facto Stateless Vietnamese Children in Cambodia


I was delighted to participate in a special issue 'children and youth in asian migration: states, families, and education' for positions asia critique journal. The issue was guest edited by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas; Nicola Piper; Sari K. Ishii; Carolyn Choi. You can read the guest editors' introduction by clicking the link below.


Guest Editors’ Introduction Children and Youth in Asian Migration

My own article diverges from the literature on children of migration in Southeast Asia, where discussions on children have focused mostly on those left behind, and instead examines the tactics children employ to deal with their sense of dislocation. I argue that theorizations of integration and assimilation developed in the migration literature are useful for understanding the context in which de facto stateless children in Cambodia negotiate place belonging.


Children’s accounts of their lives show how negative experiences of ethnicity gave rise to cross-border affiliations and reinforced their ethnic Vietnamese identities. Socioeconomic conditions were evidently important factors that set the conditions of integration for communities of Vietnamese descent living in Cambodia. They offered children a degree of agency to selectively assimilate. Despite strong feelings of dislocation and experiences of poverty, participants in the study were willing

to perform “Khmerness” by tactically utilizing language to coexist in certain

spaces, structurally integrate, or avoid further discrimination.


Click the link below for the pdf version

Children's Experience and Practice of Belonging: The Realities of Integration among De Facto Stateless Vietnamese Children in Cambodia | positions | Duke University Press (dukeupress.edu)


Ben Thomas, the digital illustrator I work with, produced the cover art for the issue. I really appreciate the attention positions gave to the design of this issue :) It's a strange feeling to like the aesthetic of a journal article!




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