Moral Orders in Chinese Business Families in Finland: Constructing family, gender and ethnicity in a research situation

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Abstract

This article explores how Chinese business families in the Chinese catering sector in the Helsinki metropolitan Area (Finland) articulate gendered and ethnicized moral orders in the relationship that ensues between the researcher and the research participants. Earlier studies indicate that overseas Chinese family businesses are patriarchal family firms characterized by filial piety, frugality and a concern for family welfare. This article challenges this static and idealized picture by highlighting the (re)articulation and negotiation of gendered familial moral orders. The study suggests that families do not necessarily adhere to patriarchal arrangements of gender in their everyday life and that commitment or resistance to the gendered familial moral orders can be seen as an act of ethnic identification. The study further suggests that ethnic meaning-making is an inherent part of interactional interview situations where the relational construction of ethnic similarities and differences conveys a sense of inherent duality between the ethnic groups represented in the interaction. The study implies that when studying ethnic family businesses we should be careful not to base our analysis on the assumption that there are ethnic group-wide cultural moral orders. This assumption tends to (re)produce deterministic accounts that deny the role of human agency and to disregard politico-economic differences of interest within and between groups in a given context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-319
JournalGENDER WORK AND ORGANIZATION
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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