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Edited by Iredale R. Robyn and Guo Fei

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Raul P. Lejano and Sung Jin Park

Policy texts often mediate the intricate relationship between the crafting of a policy and its enactment. Such texts may serve as boundary objects that afford close interaction among policy actors. On the other hand, strongly textualist policy domains can rigidly disempower these same actors, leading to shallow, rather than deep, implementation. At their most extreme, autopoietic texts serve as vehicles for furthering ideological systems of thought. This approach affords a critical analysis of the hitherto unexamined effects of policy texts.

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Kathrin Braun

The chapter presents an overview over the main strands of frame analysis in the social sciences and policy studies, their respective understanding of frame, overall purpose, research objectives, methodological assumptions, and research practices. Whether frame operates as a critical concept depends on the larger theoretical framework in which it is embedded.

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Yeqing Huang and Fei Guo

The concept of social exclusion has been widely applied to explain the marginalization of rural–urban migrants in contemporary China, yet aspects of migrants’ own perceptions of their identity have received little attention. This chapter examines some of the underlying mechanisms of social exclusion in contemporary Chinese urban society by deconstructing perceived boundaries between rural–urban migrants and local urbanites. Qualitative analysis of data collected from a rural village in central China suggest that migrants’ identities are shaped and reshaped by their hukou and employment status, home ownership and social network. These factors are interwoven, leading to more than one identity in migrants’ narrative discourses. Most survey respondents, when asked to choose either a rural or an urban identity, were ambivalent, indicating apparently blurry identity boundaries. The findings highlight an intertwining effect of institutional and market forces in the process of rural–urban migrants’ identity formation and transformation in urban China.

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Yu Zhu, Baoyu Xiao and Liyue Lin

This chapter uses data from the 2010 and 2000 population censuses to examine changing spatial and temporal patterns of China’s floating population and their implications for understanding internal migration in China. The results suggest that the size of the floating population continued to increase with fast speed in the period between the two censuses, with coastal provinces in eastern China as their main receiving areas and inland provinces (especially those in central China) as their main source areas. The results also indicate that the proportion of the floating population absorbed by the eastern region declined in the years leading to the 2010 census, suggesting a shrinking migration flow to the eastern part of China. In the meantime, while the Pearl-River Delta region and the Yangtze River Delta region continued to be the two most important destination areas of China’s floating population, their relative position has changed, with the Yangtze River Delta region overtaking the Pearl-River Delta region to become the biggest receiving area of the floating population. In terms of temporal migration patterns of the floating population, the results suggest that short-term migrants still constituted the majority of the floating population, suggesting that their unsettled and unstable nature had not changed much, and that there is still a long way to go for them to settle down, either in their current or future places of destination or their place of origin. The chapter finally suggests that these temporal and spatial patterns of the floating population has important implications for understanding migrants’ identity, their future development and their impact on both sending and receiving areas.

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Dawid Wladyka and Ricard Morén-Alegret

Recent European research on diversity indicates that neighbourhoods’ spatial and social tissue is influential on inter-ethnic interactions. Additionally, studies based on the Conflict and Contact theories as well as researches based on the ‘superdiversity’ theoretical proposal underscore the contradictory outcomes which diversity may provide regarding the development of local communities. While ethnic diversity within some economic sectors has been observed as empowering social cohesion and economic development, some ways of managing diversity in the public realm have been found to be an obstacle. Chinese immigration to Barcelona increased visibly in the twenty-first century. In the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood registered foreign immigrants were roughly 18 per cent of the total population in 2013, according to the National Statistical Institute (INE). This is similar to the Barcelona average rate. Chinese residents were the most numerous foreign residents in the neighbourhood, followed by Italians and Peruvians. This chapter presents local perceptions on Chinese immigrants and their footprint on the Sagrada Familia neighbourhood’s social and economic sustainability. It is based on results extracted from the analysis of various semi-structured interviews with natives and immigrants, supplemented by the analysis of statistical and documental sources. The results show that Chinese residents’ purchasing power could provide an opportunity for empowering (or improving?) the neighbourhood’s development but the wariness of other residents towards Chinese hampers such a possibility. Unjustified rumors, a lack of local authorities’ involvement and the economic downturn have been observed as escalating conflicting attitudes towards Chinese and limiting mutual collaboration. What impact has this had on the identity of the Chinese? Have they clung together more, strengthened their Chineseness? Relied on other Chinese more? Kept close links to China?

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Weiwei Zhang and John R. Logan

This chapter focuses on the Chinese population in the United States, which predominantly consists of first generation immigrants despite the long history of Chinese immigration in this country. We identify several important features of this population. First, its rapid growth, from less than a quarter million in 1960 (of whom a majority in fact were born in the US) to over 4 million in 2012 (60% foreign-born). Second, we look at the strong regional concentration. Almost entirely a West Coast population in the nineteenth century, nearly half of Chinese still live in the West, and about a quarter in the Northeast. The pattern is changing slowly, with some notable growth in the South. Third, the relatively high socio-economic status of this minority group, similar on average to other Asian immigrants, and outperforming non-Hispanic whites on some measures is examined. However a notable feature of Chinese in America, quite unlike other racial/ethnic groups, is its polarization – large shares with very high and very low incomes. These extremes reflect differences in immigrant origins, timing of arrival, and the conditions under which they entered the country. Finally we call attention to settlement patterns within the four metropolitan regions with the largest number of Chinese residents, emphasizing their high level of suburbanization, separation from other groups, and location in relatively advantaged enclaves in both cities and suburbs.

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Heidrun åm

Heidrun åm argues in her essay that policy studies can learn much from Science and Technology Studies (STS). STS concepts like co-production can help to explicate the mutually reinforcing explanatory power of STS and Critical Policy Studies (CPS) more systematically. ‘Co-production’ in particular can be a necessary reminder for policy analysts of the role of matter in the midst of discourse. åm shows the value of applying a co-productionist perspective together with a poststructuralist policy analysis along a study of voluntary nanotechnology regulations. These were adopted in a context of uncertainty, when little evidence of risks in nanomaterials was available. While a strong demand to pre-empt public resistance might have been a driver for developing nanotechnology regulations, regulations’ particular form can only be explained by taking into account nanotechnology’s ambiguity. Thus, the technology itself was an important element in the co-production of existing nanotechnology regulations.

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Hemant R. Ojha, Mani R. Banjade and Krishna K. Shrestha

This chapter outlines a Critical Action Research (CAR) approach to enhance the interplay between research and social movement practices. The authors argue that such interplay is crucial to improve the quality of democratic policy process. Such interplay has the potential to address some of the concerns related to the continued lack of effective deliberation in the policy processes. Drawing on three cases from Nepal, India and Australia, the authors demonstrate that four aspects are crucial: (1) how critical researchers and social actors interact, (2) use of action as a basis of learning and a moral pursuit, (3) interactive learning (dialectical epistemology) and (4) multi-scalar engagement. They conclude that there is enormous scope for revitalizing democratic empowerment in the participatory policy process by strengthening the ways researchers interact with communities and policy actors, across scales, and by balancing epistemic and action objectives in the specific context of application.

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Vincent Dubois

Based on a comprehensive review of the various orientations of policy ethnography, this chapter illustrates four defining features of critical policy ethnography: challenging mainstream positivist approaches to public policy; confronting commonsense and official views on policy; setting individual experiences and micro-observations in the broader perspective of power and inequality structures; and unveiling social, economic, symbolic and political domination processes operating in and through policy processes.