Global Asia

Developed from an earlier research project (see annual report 2006) on Intermediated Cross-border Marriages, this project is a comparative study on intra-regional flows of migration in East and Southeast Asia with a focus on gender and family. It aims at studying the linkage between the immigration regimes, transnational families and migrants' experiences.

The first component of the project looks at the development of the immigration regimes of the newly industrialised countries in East and Southeast Asia. It poses the following questions: Who are the stakeholders in the formation of immigration policies and what are their main concerns? How are different categories of migration (i.e. marriage, labour, asylum and irregular) constructed? What are the gender, class and ethnic criteria of the categorisations? What are the governing techniques of border control and containing migrants? How do the rationales of these categorisations and governing mechanisms reflect the notions of citizenship and national interests? This project will pay special attention to the roles of the social actors beyond the state and civil society, such as the labour recruitment agencies and marriage brokers and family institutions.

The second component looks at the experiences of female migrants in the context of the first component. What are the demographic and socio-economic factors affecting their migratory decisions (to where, and in what category) and how do these factors reflect their gendered positions before and after migration? How do they move between different categories of migrants and what are their constraints and opportunities? What political, social and cultural rights do they gain or lose in the process of moving between the categories? How do they build local and transnational support networks?

To answer such a broad range of questions, this project will bring together scholars who have already been working on related topics. A three-year research project is developed with an empirical focus on Taiwan and South Korea as the receiving countries, and Vietnam and the PRC as the sending countries. Multi-sited fieldwork will be conducted jointly by the scholars involved in these four countries. Other scholars will be involved in publication, organising workshops and conferences.