Many residences in the coastal areas of South China migrated to overseas countries since the mid-19th century. In many coastal communities, almost all households have relatives settled in Southeast Asian countries. Large volume of remittance and frequent communication of people have great influence on the shaping of local political structure as well as people’s daily lives. Overseas experience and the movement of people continue to shape these overseas Chinese hometowns, create new social mechanism, change and making tradition.
Through detailed micro-studies, this project attempts to investigate the history of five coastal communities, scrutinize how different local traditions continue to survive in different political and cultural environments and examine the process of creation of local traditions in the development of modernization and interactions with overseas communities. On the other hand, we attempts to place these communities in the macro-environment of South China and Overseas communities in order to analyze the characteristics and operational mechanisms of the Fujianese, Chaozhou and Cantonese communities, the three major “qiaoxiang communities” in South China.
This project proposes to produce the following results: (1) to establish a databank comprises of detailed history and primary and secondary sources of these “qiaoxiang communities”. The databank will be important resources for future comparison with studies of other coastal and inland communities, as well as overseas Chinese communities. (2) To accomplish detailed study of each communities and produce a manuscript on the comparison of the “qiaoxiang communities” in the coastal area of South China.