In this article, P. Hatziprokopiou and Ν. Montagna discuss the spatial dimensions in processes of incorporation of immigrants in European metropolises, focusing on the specific case of Chinatown and on two recent occasions when its space was contested. The article appeared in Ethnicities (12:6, 2011). For more see here.

Contested Chinatown: Chinese migrants’ incorporation and the urban space in London and Milan”


This article discusses Chinese migrants’ incorporation in European cities and the relevance of the urban space. In particular, it focuses on the Chinatowns of London and Milan, beginning from two recent cases where their space has been contested. Alongside the different histories and contemporary patterns of Chinese migration and settlement and the varying policies and politics of immigration and integration in Britain and Italy, we bring the urban factor in our analysis. More specifically, we look at the political economy of the urban space and the role of Chinatown in the dynamics of urban restructuring in the two cities. We conclude by summarizing the key dimensions of comparison and by highlighting additional elements that are important in order to understand the multiple processes conditioning Chinese migrants’ incorporation in Europe, the peculiarities of Chinatown as a specific urban locale and the politics of contestation and protest involving immigrants in urban contexts. In that sense, the article examines different layers of explanation and builds a comparative analytical framework that goes beyond the limits of migration studies.