Jennifer Martin


Jennifer is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Monash University and is a librarian in the higher education sector. She has previously completed a BA and MA from the University of NSW, a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management from the University of Canberra and a Graduate Diploma in Educational Psychology from Monash University. She is currently undertaking her research on ethnic identity construction amongst multi-generation Australian-born Chinese. Jennifer has extensive experience in the education and community sectors including working as an interlocutor for the Occupational English Test, as an Executive Officer for a Council of Deans, as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Project Officer and as a Research Worker. She has presented at several national conferences organised by The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). She has published a paper on tenancy issues confronted by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Research Topic

Ethnic identity construction and belongingness amongst Australian-born Chinese

Research Interests

Australian-born Chinese; hybridity; ethnicity; Chineseness; identity; groupism

Project Summary

This research considers what ‘being Chinese’ means to multi-generation Australian-born Chinese in terms of how ‘Chineseness’ is perceived, constructed and understood. Factors contributing to one’s sense of being Chinese including place of origin, age, generation, length of settlement and place of residence are explored. There are few comprehensive studies on the Australian-born Chinese particularly those born from the 1980s onwards so this study examines the lived experiences of both younger and older generations. In-depth interviews were mainly conducted in Victoria and Tasmania. Overall, this study investigates the lived experiences of multi-generation Australian-born Chinese, their interactions in the community and in the home, and changing perspectives over life’s course. This study aims to challenge essentialised notions of Chineseness from the perspective of Australian-born Chinese and draws on the socio-historical approach of Zygmunt Bauman and other post-modern theorists on hybridity to understand the processes of identity construction.


Assoc Prof Dharma Arunachalam
Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett