Scaling ethnic segregation: Causal processes and contingent outcomes in Chinese residential patterns01/01/2001
This paper advances a contingent perspective of residential segregation that recognizes it as a universal phenomenon of residential differentiation, yet one that results from different causal processes and which results in different spatial outcomes. The analytical separation of groups, contexts and scale is key to understanding the nature of segregation, i.e., what it signifies to the group and to the host society. We argue that segregation is created and maintained by different choices and constraints occurring across dimensions of production, reproduction and consumption. Spatial outcomes vary considerably, and may be arrayed in regard to the permanence of segregation, whether it facilitates identity maintenance, and whether segregation itself empowers or marginalizes the ethnic population. To demonstrate our approach, we analyze the segregation experiences of Chinese ethnics. Our argument is organized around the global, national and local scales at which causal processes shape the Chinese experience of segregation.