Linguistic Practice, Power and Imagined Worlds: The Case of the Portuguese in Postcolonial Macau

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes and analyses the linguistic practices and socio-cultural discourses of Portuguese nationals residing in Macau Special Administrative Region (China), a territory under Portuguese rule for more than 400 years until it was returned to the People's Republic of China in 1999. Drawing from detailed interviews with 12 respondents, the research combines a postcolonial theoretical perspective with Bourdieu's notion of the habitus. It is a study of expatriates in a locale where they previously were ‘colonizers’, but where their collective identity and status have changed quite radically and suddenly. The research considers how the wider socio-cultural field that contains the Portuguese community of Macau has changed in terms of its relation to the new regime of power in contemporary Macau; and by way of extension how the habitus of Portuguese expatriates has informed, and been influenced by, the process of intercultural interactions with the host Chinese culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-50
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonization
  • Decolonization
  • Habitus
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Language Acquisition
  • Macau
  • Migration
  • Postcolonialism


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