Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (12): 2440-2451.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201812012

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Floating children in Guangzhou: The construction of "home" in the context of urbanization

CHEN Chun1,2(),YUAN Zhenjie3,ZHU Hong3()   

  1. 1. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. Centre for Cultural Industry and Cultural Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    3. Southern China Human Geography and Urban Development Research Center, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2017-11-07 Online:2018-12-14 Published:2018-12-14
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41630635;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41701146;Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, No.2016A030313427;Science Foundation for the Excellent Youth Scholars of Ministry of Education of China, No.15YJCZH009


"Floating children" are an essential part of Chinese migrants but have long been ignored in research. In this paper, focusing on the floating children in Guangzhou, we attempt to examine the roles of the floating children in the construction of home by conducting interview, drawing, writing and etc. The findings are: (1) "Floating children" are experiencing complex family separation and reorganization, which leads to the uncertainty and instability of the space of home. Meanwhile, mobility has become the most important characteristic of the construction of home under the background of China's urbanization; (2) the perception of home for floating children who moved between rural and urban areas is a mosaic constructed by the overlapped experiences of growth process of their variables. The rural-urban dualism has become an important way to understand the space of home under the background of new-type urbanization; (3) floating children have the ability and means to help create their homes. They play an active role in this process in a variety of ways such as sharing their parents' responsibilities. They have their own means to help hold their homes together during the course of the rural-to-urban migration even though their family members are always on the go. This study aims to enrich the research on migration and children issues from the perspective of human geography, and to provide the public with practical empirical experiences and possible policy recommendations to understand the current floating children issues.

Key words: floating children, home, construction, urbanization, Guangzhou