Living the long-term consequences of Thai-Western marriage migration: the radical life-course transformations of women who partner older Westerners

Statham, Paul (2019) Living the long-term consequences of Thai-Western marriage migration: the radical life-course transformations of women who partner older Westerners. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. ISSN 1369-183X

[img] PDF (This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies on 10 January 2019, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369183X.2019.1565403) - Accepted Version
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Abstract

This article examines how relationships between Thai women and older Western men transform over the long-term, from a woman’s perspective. We present a model that identifies stages in the life-cycle or ‘narrative arc’ of a long-term partnership. This framework allows us to study how negotiated exchanges (material, emotional) between the couple evolve in ‘stages’ over time, and the degree to which a woman is empowered from her initial position of relative subservient dependency. We examine three factors that shape her relative autonomy in a partnership in ways that can result in greater security, wellbeing, and status. First, increasing access to individual formal rights (primarily through marriage) can lead to relative financial independence and security. Second, differential ageing in a couple can shift the balance of dependency as he becomes relatively infirm. Third, her changing obligations to natal family members, balanced with caring for her partner, can importantly shape her wellbeing. The study is based on 20 biographical interviews with women in partnerships for 7–30 years. We find that almost every aspect of a woman’s life transforms radically. Most consider it a worthwhile life-strategy, but many suffer hidden psychological costs as a result of living this ‘unintended transnationalism’ over the long-term.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Thailand; marriage migration; women; transnationalism; ageing
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Migration Research
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0708 Social capital
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0012 Sexual life
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ2035 Life skills. Coping skills. Everyday living skills
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ2042 Life style
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT1501 Races Including race as a social group and race relations in general
Depositing User: Paul Statham
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2019 12:26
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2019 12:26
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/81855

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
The Search for a Better Life: How Partnerships with Westerners shape Thai life chances, social relationships and developmentG1377British Academy & Thailand Research FundUnset