The Language of Political Incorporation

Chinese Migrants in Europe

Amy H. Liu
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2013-8
Publication: Apr 21

HC: $110.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-2012-1
Publication: Apr 21

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2014-5
Publication: Apr 21

228 pages
6 x 9
38 tables, 28 figs., 11 halftones

How the language of migrant networks affects political incorporation

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In this groundbreaking study, The Language of Political Incorporation, Amy Liu focuses on Chinese migrants in Central-Eastern Europe and their varying levels of political incorporation in the local community. She examines the linguistic diversity of migrant networks, finding institutional trust and civic engagement depend not on national identity, but on the network’s linguistic diversity—namely, whether the operating language is a migrant’s mother tongue or a lingua franca.

The Language of Political Incorporation uses original survey data to assess when the Chinese engage positively with the authorities and when they become civic minded. The results are surprising. In Hungary, the Chinese community has experienced high levels of political incorporation in part because they have not been targeted by anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. In contrast, migrants in Romania sought the assistance of the Chinese embassy to fight an effort to collect back taxes.

Liu also compares the Chinese experiences in Central-Eastern Europe with those of Muslims in the region, as well as how the Chinese are treated in Western Europe. Additionally, she considers how the local communities perceive the Chinese. The Language of Political Incorporation concludes by offering best practices for how governments can help migrants become more trusting of—and have greater involvement with—locals in their host countries. Ultimately, Liu demonstrates the importance of linguistic networks for the incorporation of immigrants.


" Central-Eastern Europe definitely warrants an intriguing case study.... Liu has provided a well-crafted framework.... With the conceptual, empirical, and pragmatic values, this book is an essential read for those who want to understand migrants better and provide them with a space in good connections with the mainstream societies."
Ethnic and Racial Studies

“Amy Liu has produced a unique, truly pathbreaking book that will be a major contribution to the study of immigrant communities, comparative ethnic politics, and Central and Eastern European politics. It provides a welcome addition to the understanding of how immigrant communities are incorporated and how maintaining community cohesion actually helps promote such incorporation. Her work has important implications for the study of comparative immigration politics and the process of ‘acculturation.’ This book is a must-read for students of comparative immigration politics.”
John Ishiyama, University Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of North Texas

“Amy Liu’s study of new Chinese migrants in Central-Eastern Europe takes scholarship on the Chinese diaspora to the unfamiliar territories of Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Croatia, which immediately grabs our attention. It is innovative in other ways: focusing on the critical question of political incorporation, she uses a combination of ethnographic surveys and statistical data to analyze membership, participation, and leadership (brokers) in types of migrant networks demarcated by an affinity to Mandarin. Like the best of Chinese diaspora studies, this highly readable book encompasses a sweep of history as it examines the migrants in local, national, global, and comparative contexts.”
Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Professor of History, American Studies, and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, and editor of Across the Pacific: Asian Americans and Globalization (Temple)

The Language of Political Incorporation is a major contribution to the theories of migration. Liu, a leading scholar in the study of language and politics, elaborates on the interactions between linguistic and ethnic minority groups as well as migrants in their new homelands. The first comparative analysis of the incorporation of Chinese migrants in post-communist European societies, this is a fascinating book.”
András Bozóki, Professor of Political Science at the Central European University, Vienna, and coauthor of Migrants, Minorities, Belonging and Citizenship

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. A Theory about Languages and Migrant Networks
3. The Chinese in Central-Eastern Europe
4. Survey Evidence from Central-Eastern Europe
5. Political Incorporation amid Right-Wing Nationalism in Hungary
6. Tax Collection and Political Incorporation: A Natural Experiment in Romania
7. Beyond the Chinese: The Muslims in Central-Eastern Europe in Comparative Perspective
8. Beyond Central-Eastern Europe: The Chinese in Western Europe in Comparative Perspective
9. Implications: Local Attitudes toward the Chinese (and Other Out-Groups)
10. Implications: Best Practices


About the Author(s)

Amy H. Liu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Standardizing Diversity: The Political Economy of Language Regimes.