The people's food: The ingredients of "ethnic" hierarchies and the development of Chinese restaurants in Rome

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GeoJournal, ISSN: 0343-2521, Vol: 68, Issue: 2-3, Page: 195-210

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Mudu, Pierpaolo
Springer Nature
Social Sciences
article description
In the last 20 years, the growth of Chinese immigration in Italy has increased, being characterized by multiple migration strategies linked to transnational economic activities. This has been particularly the case with the Chinese immigrant community in Rome, where many of these immigrants are involved in the restaurant or import-export business. In this context, the Chinese immigrant presence in the restaurant sector will be analysed in detail within a multimethod approach developed to explore the number, location and characteristics of all Chinese restaurants that were opened and closed since the 1970s. This exercise in economic geography is linked to other questions such as power and cultural relations, urban planning practices and the discourses of racism. The development and the geography of the Chinese restaurants allow us to understand not only how far or close they are to the mainstream Italian restaurant sector, but also the spatial trajectories of Roman Chinese in general within the urban landscape. As Chinese restaurants outside China have become a symbol of transnational Chinese identity, it is worth considering the real spatial practices attached to the construction and negotiation of this transnationality. © 2007 Springer Science + Business Media B.V.