Political Participation of Asian Migrants and their Descendants in France (PolAsia 2020-2023)

Scientific Coordination

- Hélène Le Bail, chargée de recherche, CNRS, CERI Sciences Po, IC Migrations (general coordination, coordination axis 1)
- Aurore Merle, maîtresse de conférence, Université de Cergy-Pontoise - AGORA (coordination axis 2)
- Vincent Tiberj, Professeur, Sciences Po Bordeaux, Centre Emile Durkheim, IC Migrations (coordination axis 3)

Ya-Han Chuang, chercheuse, CERI Sciences Po, IC Migrations Integer
- Laura Morales, Professeur, CEE-Sciences Po Paris, IC Migrations Integer
- Patrick Simon, Directeur de recherche, Ined, IC Migrations Integer
- Djamel Sellah, doctorant, Sciences Po Bordeaux, Centre Emile Durkheim
- Lun Zhang, Professeur, Université de Cergy-Pontoise - AGORA

Associated members 
- Augustin Théodore Debsi pinel de la Rotte Morel, masteurant, Inalco
- Cao-Minh Ho, doctorante, INED et Sciences Po Paris
- Nara Keo Kosal, association du Mekong à la Marne
- Kai Yan Ly, diplômée de master, Inalco
- Jean-Alex Quach, diplômé de master, ENSCI
- Anh-xuan Riebeer, étudiante, Sciences Po Paris


The PolAsie project plans to investigate the specificity of French Asians’ political participation through different domains (voting practices, participation in political campaigns, trajectories of Asian elected representatives, political mobilisations and collective action at local level, etc). It also aims at analysing these political practices by evaluating the processes of political socialisation before migration, after migration and within the diasporic groups. 

PolAsie on Hypothèses

The research project will pay close attention to the generation differences. It is notable that the most vocal citizens belong to the first generations of descendants who are between 25 and 35 years old) and may be compared to the 1980s “mouvement beur” who were descendants of North African migrants. It will also focus on the impact of the collective mobilisation since 2010 and the diffusion of new patterns of collective action. Finally, the attention paid to socializing processes will interrogate the continuity between the country of origin and the country of residence, and the influence of diasporic transnational social spaces. In other words, PolAsie aims to explore the three-following hypotheses:

The Asian population in France, migrants and their descendants, is undergoing a generation turn which is transforming its political participation and its sense of belonging (both as French and Asian).

Recent collective actions by Asians in France against violence and discrimination are fostering more classical forms of political participation at local and national levels (participation in local councils, voting practices, party’s membership and participation in political campaigns, etc.)

As a material and symbolic resources, the Chinese (and more generally the Asian) growing economic power and its strategy to promote an alternate model to liberal democracies plays a role in the immigrants’ process of political socialisation. However, these experiences do not exclude other forms of learning and adherence to citizens’ practices observed in the country of residence.

To explore these hypotheses, the project is organised around three objectives that will be researched by a team composed of specialists in the study of political participation (political sciences, sociology and demography), of migration (political science and sociology) and of Chinese society (sociology):

1. The elected representatives with Asian migration background. The study of voting practices and political careers will document the reality of a “vote communautaire”, of community political adherence. It will also interrogate the role of elected representatives and whether they contribute to provide a substantive representation for this minority group (les élus de la diversité).

2. Local citizenship and diversity policies. This strand of research will document local and grassroots forms of collective action with a special focus on recent examples of violence targeting Asians. It will explore initiatives of dialogue, cooperation and confrontation with local authorities as well as within the Asian communities (solidarity and competition among organisations, social, generational and gender divisions). It will also pay attention to potential diplomatic interventions from countries of origin and their acceptation by diasporic groups.

3. Political cultures and political socialisation: pre and post-migration. The project will study the forms of adherence to political systems (from liberal democracies to authoritarian regimes) taking into account complex process of political socialisation: in the country of origin before migration, in the country of residence after migration, as well as within the diasporic networks.

The team is composed of sociologists, demographers and political scientists. It is built on the complementarity between researchers specialised in Asian migrations and mobilisation and researchers specialised in discrimination and political participation in France. Five of the researchers are fellows of the Institut Convergence des migrations which is co-funding the axes 1 and 3.

Type of project

PolAsie on Hypothèses


June 12, 2023
Asian Minorities in Europe and in North America
A transatlantic dialogue on memories, representations, and recognition
Sciences Po, Amphitheater Leroy Beaulieu, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, 75007 Paris. Inscriptions are mandatory.

The surge of the anti-Asian bigotry since the COVID-19 has aroused a general awareness about the prejudices against Asian populations. However, its causes, patterns and responses remain little explored. This international conference will bring together researchers and activists from Europe and North America to compare the memories, representations and recognition of Asian populations in different national contexts. Two central questions are addressed: First, how do groups and individuals with Asian heritage appropriate collective memories to fight for a fairer representation in Europe and in North America? Secondly, how do different regimes of diversity in multicultural democratic countries determine the recognition of Asian minorities in the public space? Through a transatlantic dialogue, we expect to come up with plausible directions for future research and actions on Asian minorities acknowledgement in Western societies.

This symposium has been financed by Sciences Po Transatlantic Research Fund, Institut Convergences Migrations and ANR PolAsie.

8:30 am

Welcome breakfast 

9:00 am

Welcome speech (Ya-Han CHUANG & Katharya UM)

9:15 am - 11 am

PANEL 1A. Collective Memories, Representations and Actions of Asian Minorities. Moderator: Russell JEUNG (San Francisco State University)

      Diane WONG, Rutgers University

      Diana YEH, City University of London

      Katharya UM, University of California Berkeley

11:15 am - 12:45 pm

PANEL 1B. Collective Memories, Representations and Actions of Asian Minorities. Moderator: Hélène LE BAIL (CNRS, Sciences Po Paris)

      Kien Nghi HA, Tubigen University

      Irene MASDEU TORRUELLA, Autonomous University of Barcelona

      Ya-Han CHUANG, Sciences Po Paris

General discussion of Panel 1

12:45 pm - 2 pm

Lunch break

2 pm - 3:40 pm

PANEL 2A. Asian Activism in France. Moderator: Khatharya UM (University of California Berkeley)

      Kim HUYNH & Maï NGUYEN, Asiattitudes

      Grace LY, "Ca reste entrez nous" et "Kiffe ta race"

      Camille-Maya JAYANTHI, Talk Tabou Media

      Yamouna NALLAMTAMBY, Slash Asian

      Thomas CAI, Association des jeunes Chinois de France

      Laura POK, Pouma’khmer

      Nara KEO KOSAL & Pascal MOUGIN, Du Mékong à la Marne

      Christine HUYNH & Arnaud HUYNH, Jeunes Teochow de France


      Julie HAMAIDE, Koï

3:40 pm - 4 pm

Coffee break

4 pm - 5:30 pm

PANEL 2B. Asian Activism: A Transatlantic Dialogue. Moderator : Ya-Han CHUANG

      Russell JEUNG; Stop AAPI Hate US

      Rémy CHHEM & Marie-Eve SAMSON, Super Boat People, Canada

      Jee-Un KIM & Sun-Ju CHOI, Korientation, Germany

      Mélanie CAO, Asio Féminisme Now! Belgium

      Maud Jin Qin GERRETSEN & Amy CHEUNG, Asian Raisins, Netherlands

      Paloma CHEN, Red de Diaspora China, Spain


Publication du livre Générations post-réfugiées. Les descendants de réfugiés d’Asie du Sud-Est en France sous la direction de Khatharya Um et Hélène Le Bail (Presses universitaires François Rabelais, 2023).

Ya-Han Chuang, Hélène Le Bail. "Faire reconnaître le racisme anti-Asiatiques : la construction d’un problème public par la voie judiciaire." Marronnages : Les questions raciales au crible des sciences sociales, 2022, 1 (1), pp. 32-54.

Ya-Han Chuang et Aurore Merle, « Insécurité et (re)négociation des frontières ethno-raciales. Les mobilisations d’habitants chinois contre les agressions en Seine-Saint-Denis », Terrains & travaux, Vol. 39, n° 2, 2021, pp. 87-111.


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