By Adrian H. Hearn
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Extra resources for Diaspora and Trust: Cuba, Mexico, and the Rise of China
The book draws inspiration from the pioneering cross-disciplinary work of Michael Burawoy (2000), George Marcus (1995), and Aihwa Ong and Stephen Collier (2004), which established a two-way street between global economic systems and local initiative. No single methodology can fully apprehend Chinese transnationalism, but a combination of historical and anthropological analysis can illuminate the articulation of international relations with social process over time. Multisited ethnography is well suited to explore transnational phenomena because, as Marcus writes, it opens the possibility of “tracing a cultural formation across and within multiple sites of activity” (1995, 96).
From a policy perspective, the business generated by resident Chinese communities can augment tax revenue and widen trade networks, but only when it operates within the law. When it does not, ethnic entrepreneurship can evolve into organized crime, and broad-based beneﬁts into private proﬁteering. As Alejandro Portes puts it, “the capacity of authorities to enforce rules (social control) can [be] jeopardized by the existence of tight networks whose function is precisely to facilitate viola22 INTRODUCTION tion of those rules for private beneﬁt” (1998, 15).
The material beneﬁts they generate are unevenly distributed among managers, intermediaries, and factory workers, and the trust underpinning them has become exclusive and particularized. The transformation of generalized trust into more particularized forms casts new light on Guthrie’s argument for the “declining signiﬁcance of guanxi” brought on by China’s integration into the global economy. Instead, as Mayfair Yang has argued, “guanxi practices may decline in some social domains, but ﬁnd new areas to ﬂourish” (2002, 459).