Karyn Harding

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mark E. Karan


Expatriates are a modern-day community built by a rapid advance towards globalization. Expatriates are now likely to be self-initiated; that is, they chose to live in a foreign country rather than having been sent there by an employer, and they are changing the face of the global job market. However, their social interactions have not been the subject of much previous study. This paper delves into the ways that expatriates build and maintain their communities. In this case, participant observation and discourse analysis are used to study an expat community living in Shenzhen, China. As a group not defined by heritage but rather by situational circumstance, expatriates build their community through their shared experience as guests in a foreign country. This paper found that the participants often use evaluative language about the local culture in their discourse with one another as a way to build and maintain relations due in no small part to the impact that living in a foreign country has on their daily lives. With continuing importance of globalization in our modern world, it is hoped that a greater understanding of these global citizens known as expatriates will give insight into their place and impact on our ever-shrinking world.

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