Diasporic Cultural Institution Essay (Critical Writing)

Introduction

The culture of a community is their value trait that identifies them. Their beliefs and principles enable them to be identified by other people or communities in the global society. The people who practice their culture are essential elements in the preserving and maintaining their culture.

Without such people, a culture will soon fade out and will not be in existence. The practice of culture is not a key task in these modern days. The reason to this is that, many people especially the young, have considered cultural practices as not interesting as the modern hence preferring to be associated with modern activities.

The practice of cultural activities is a unique way of identifying an individual or community hence the importance stressed by people to maintain and sustain their culture. The identification of a culture can be achieved through notable beliefs or acts by a given community.

An example of cultural practices is having cultural institutions. These institutions have set missions and vision to practice their culture and make it popular to the whole world. The institutions can be set by government or an individual. They can also be located in the home or foreign country (Waterman, Anheier, & Isar, 2010).

Diasporic Cultural Institution

Diasporic cultural institution is an establishment based on social and ethnic activities in a foreign country away from their own country. The institution is developed from certain doing or events that have value in a given culture. The culture is usually developed from the beliefs, principles and values of a community (Burman, 2002).

The diasporic cultural institution that I am covering on is the Chinese restaurants. The Chinese restaurants are establishments that offer Chinese cuisines. The restaurants prepare and serve Chinese food and drinks. The Chinese restaurants are a diasporic cultural institution since they practice the Chinese culture outside their own country through Chinese cuisine.

The restaurants are mainly operated by people with Chinese descent. From the manager to the chef, the restaurants employee the Chinese people in order to encourage and maintain their tradition even in foreign locations.

The Chinese restaurants prepare and serve different Chinese cuisines. The Chinese cuisines have their specific recipe that is used in the preparation process. The style of preparation has been preserved over many generations since its inception. This has given the Chinese cuisine a unique taste that is desired by many people including foreigners.

History

The Chinese cuisine is part of the Chinese culture. As one of the first cultures, the Chinese culture has its cuisine as an important component. The occurrence of the Chinese restaurants as diasporic cultural institution is as a result of the Chinese culture (Hucker, 1975).

The Chinese culture has become a popular culture all over the globe. The popularity of the culture is due to the activities the Chinese people have been involved with over the years, the main activity being immigration.

The immigration of the Chinese people to other nations was a significant aspect in the wide spread of Chinese culture. The Chinese people migrated to other countries due to the challenges they faced in their own country. The immigration process began many years ago, with the search for employment being the key motivation to migrate (Abu-Lughod, 1989).

The Chinese people who had migrated to the foreign countries did not forget about their culture. The Chinese people always preserve their culture, and this was evident from the immigrants’ activities.

After being settled in the foreign countries, the Chinese people practiced their culture as a way of creating a home far from home. They practiced various activities which included language, music, arts, fashion and cuisine. They believed that their culture was the best and hence they should not imitate the other people’s culture, but instead maintain their own.

In the context of language, they still communicated to each other in their native language while in a foreign nation. Though they learnt the local language for the purpose of communicating with the locals, they preferred to address one another in Chinese language so as to preserve their language.

In the context of music, they created and performed their Chinese music even though no one could understand their language. They felt that their music was beneficial to them and also created a sense of their culture while in a foreign nation. In the context of arts, the Chinese immigrants practiced fine art, painting and porcelain pottery as a way of sustaining their culture. They used their skill in order to create Chinese art.

In the context of fashion, the Chinese immigrants wore clothing with Chinese style. They tailored the clothing styles while in the foreign country instead of changing their fashion and embracing a new one. In the context of cuisine, the Chinese immigrants preferred preparing their own food and drink since it was what appealing to them was.

The move away from home did not stop them to think of all the cultural activities that were common in their home country. The practiced all these activities over the years while they were there until they became renowned and established by the foreigners (Brubaker, 2005).

During their stay in the foreign countries, the Chinese immigrants adapted to the system and knew different ways that they can maintain their culture and make it popular. In a context that they could practice their various cultures in one, they decide to open Chinese restaurants.

In the context of Chinese restaurants, they would practice Chinese language, music, arts, fashion and cuisine. They put up restaurants in the foreign country so as to offer their own people in the foreign country a comfort that would associate them with their home country. It was also a prospect to make their culture known to the foreign country and its locals. It offered them a chance to practice a new culture and learn more about it through the experience they were to get. (Hsu, 2000)

The Chinese restaurant as an establishment was constructed in Chinese design. The building architecture was a style resembling the Chinese construction plan. The inside of the restaurant was decorated with Chinese arts. The walls had Chinese painting and the furniture was also copied to resemble Chinese style. The staffs working in the restaurant were Chinese, and all were in Chinese fashion. They wore cloths designed to match the Chinese design. All these aspects created a cultural picture of the Chinese people in a foreign state.

Chinese Cuisine

The Chinese cuisine is part of the Chinese people and their culture. It is a collection of the main foods and drinks offered by Chinese restaurants. The Chinese cuisine has become popular in many areas of the world. This includes Australia, America, Southern Africa and Western Europe. The Chinese cuisine has a considerable history stretching back may centuries (Shan, 2008).

The main Chinese cuisines prepared and served by the restaurants include traditional Chinese food. They comprise of staple foods, delicatessen and drinks of Chinese style. The uniqueness of the Chinese food is based on aroma, taste and color. The staple foods are rice, noodles, soybeans, wheat, vegetables, herbs, seasonings and desserts.

The delicatessens are cold dishes, soups, Chinese pickles, Chinese sausage and snacks. The drinks are tea, liquor, herbal drinks and milk. There are other various Chinese dishes also offered by the Chinese restaurants. The dishes are classified into different aspects depending on ingredient, cooking method and also regions in China.

The dishes by ingredient may be based on grains, legume, pork, poultry or vegetable since these are the main constituents used. There are various cooking methods used by the Chinese people, the main being double steaming, red cooking and stir frying. The main dishes on the basis of cooking methods are dumplings, pastry, stews, soups and porridge (Shan, 2008).

The Chinese cuisine has spread around many parts of the globe due to the growth of Chinese restaurants. The cuisine usually offers a variety of foods and drinks. It is the ingredients used that offer the variety. The cuisine has become popular because of its unique cooking methods and recipes.

Diasporic Experience

The Chinese restaurant as a diasporic cultural institution has offered the people from all over the world to experience their culture in various aspects. The cultural products reflect a diasporic experience in different aspects. The Chinese restaurant offers different cultural products that are related to the Chinese culture. These products include food, drinks, music, fashion and art.

The diasporic experience offers a connection to people with the familiarity of the Chinese culture. The locals have a chance to experience the foreign culture through the restaurant and its cuisines. The locals get a chance to see the construction design of Chinese building from the design of the restaurant. They get to enjoy the interior set up of the restaurant and have a glimpse of some unique Chinese art. They also get to taste and enjoy Chinese cuisine.

In the context of positive experience, the Chinese cuisine has received a good reception in many of the country it has been offered by the Chinese restaurants. The people from different countries have been pleased by the unique taste, aroma and color of the Chinese cuisine.

The good reception has also been invigorated by the fact that people are ready to embrace and experience different cultures. This has been supported by the Chinese restaurants offering their cuisine culture at the people’s vicinity. This move has made the people from different nationalities aware of their presence (Ong, 1999).

Diasporic Identity

Diasporic identity is the uniqueness and character obtained or gained while in a foreign country due to a unique quality portrayed. It is usually attained through being exceptional. In the context of diasporic cultural institution, diasporic identity is experienced or observed when the institution is distinct in whatever it is offering. The Chinese restaurant has a diasporic identity. This is due to the exceptionality it has through the cuisines it offers.

The production of diasporic identity is a process that needs to be handled with keenness. The diasporic identity is a highly sensitive issue which can cause a negative or positive impact on the diasporic cultural institution. The production of diasporic identity involves the portraying of characters that are of a unique trait.

The creation of the identity through the visible exclusive qualities is the step towards gaining the foreigners to be interested in the cultural institution. By gaining their attention, the institution will be popular and hence to be considered by many locals.

In the context of the Chinese restaurants, they created an interest wherever they were situated. They gained the consumers’ confidence within a short while due to their good and unique services. The Chinese restaurants became famous of their food’s taste, aroma and color (Waterman, Anheier, & Isar, 2010).

The Chinese restaurants have a diasporic identity that has been maintained for an exceedingly long time. This identity has given become part of restaurants and thus they work hard towards sustaining it. The restaurants are believed to increase the standard level of the restaurant industry wherever they are located.

The services they offer please many customer making them demand other institutions to offer the services same like the Chinese restaurants. The cleanliness levels have also been maintained in the restaurants hence the diasporic identity earned through the good reputation.

Conclusion

The Chinese people have maintained and sustained their culture and traditions through various ways. One distinct way is through a diasporic cultural institution like the Chinese restaurants that are popular globally. Their dedication to practicing their culture away from their home nation has encouraged their culture and developed it into a popular culture.

The people of China have worked hard to promote their culture; this is evident with the establishment of cultural institutions far away from their home nation. The cultural products offered by the diasporic cultural institution have given the world a different view of the diverse cultures in the world. In the context of Chinese restaurant, the people of the world have seen and experienced the Chinese culture hence giving it credit and respect for the way it has been preserved.

References

Abu-Lughod, J. L. (1989). Before European hegemony: The world system A.D. 1250-1350. New York: Oxford University Press.

Brubaker, R. (January 01, 2005). The ‘diaspora’ diaspora. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28, 1-19.

Burman, J. (January 01, 2002). Remittance: Or, diasporic economies of yearning. Small Axe : a Journal of Criticism, 12, 49-71.

Hsu, M. Y. (January 01, 2000). Migration and native place: Qiaokan and the imagined community of Taishan County, Guangdong, 1893-1993. Journal of Asian Studies.

Hucker, C. O. (1975). China’s imperial past: An introduction to Chinese history and culture. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.

Ong, A. (1999). Flexible citizenship: The cultural logics of transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press.

Shan, A. (2008). Chinese cuisine. London: Berryland Books.

Waterman, C. A., Anheier, H. K., & Isar, Y. R. (2010). Cultural expression, creativity and innovation. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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