Title

A new Chinatown? Authenticity and conflicting discourses on Pracha Rat Bamphen Road

Publication Date

10-20-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Linguistics and Language Development

Publication Title

Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development

Volume

41

Issue

9

DOI

10.1080/01434632.2020.1746318

First Page

794

Last Page

812

Abstract

Chinatowns around the world have been much studied in the linguistic landscape literature. The bulk of this research has focused on Western enclaves resulting from the Chinese diaspora of the Nineteenth Century, which share certain semiotic characteristics and histories. Less research has been conducted on Chinatowns in the East or on newly emerging Chinese enclaves. This study, framed by Lefebvre’s Production of Space, fills a gap by investigating a newly emerging Chinatown in Bangkok, in contrast to that city’s original Chinatown of Yaowarat, and to those of the nineteenth century diaspora. In asking the question, ‘what constitutes an authentic Chinatown, and in whose eyes’, it draws on data from field trips, photographs, interviews, questionnaires, focus group and documents to highlight how this neighbourhood differs in important ways from Yaowarat and how both are distinct from diasporic Chinatowns and from more recent Chinese enclaves. The study re-examines the notion of authenticity as applied to Chinatowns and identifies a number of distinct discourses revealing opposing conceptions of authenticity.

Funding Number

GYU-KYC (2019-2020) WY-02

Funding Sponsor

Chulalongkorn University

Keywords

Authenticity, Bangkok, Chinatown, discourses of contestation, linguistic landscape, production of space

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