Thai-Western Mobilities and Migration
Intimacy within Cross-Border Connections
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The chapters in this volume study transnational social relationships and cross-border connections between ‘ordinary’ people that arise from the increasingly large-scale mobilities and migrations between Thailand and ‘the West’. While Thai and Western people’s social relationships are usually studied as personal stories within a cross-border marriage migration perspective, this book considers it necessary to see them as more than marriage migration.
Even though a focus on the ‘personal life stories’ of marriage migrants provides valuable insights, it can also mask consideration of the structural context of socially embedded cross-border connections and exchanges, as well as state restrictions, that, first, make people’s decisions to move a possibility in the first place, and second, shape a migrant’s post-migration life-trajectory and experiences, relative to others in their origin and settlement societies. The chapters on Thai women who marry and move with older Western men, Western men and women who move to Thailand to retire or for leisure, and Thai rural families transformed by mobilities and migration, try to draw out their gendered experiences of transnational living. The individual choices that shaped these lives, and the surprising prevalence of lives like these in Thailand and abroad, needs to be understood within context as an outcome of the specific globalisation processes that have shaped Thailand through transnational links to other parts of the world over the last decades. Globalisation and penetration by foreign capital, cultures, and people through mass tourism is key to this explanatory backstory as well as the internal rural/urban cleavages that drive Thailand’s economic development.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Globalising Thailand through gendered ‘both-ways’ migration pathways with ‘the West’: cross-border connections between people, states, and places
Paul Statham, Sarah Scuzzarello, Sirijit Sunanta and Alexander Trupp
2. Globalising the Thai ‘high-touch’ industry: exports of care and body work and gendered mobilities to and from Thailand
3. Living the long-term consequences of Thai-Western marriage migration: the radical life-course transformations of women who partner older Westerners
4. Thai wives in Europe and European husbands in Thailand: how social locations shape their migration experiences and engagement with host societies
Manasigan Kanchanachitra and Pattraporn Chuenglertsiri
5. Practising privilege. How settling in Thailand enables older Western migrants to enact privilege over local people
6. Transnational intimacy and economic precarity of western men in northeast Thailand
Megan Lafferty and Kristen H. Maher
7. Intergenerational strategies: the successes and failures of a Northern Thai family's approach to international labour migration
Sarah Turner and Jean Michaud
Paul Statham is Professor of Migration and Director of the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR, University of Sussex, UK). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS), and a founder of the Sussex-Mahidol Migration Partnership with Mahidol University (Thailand).
Sarah Scuzzarello is Lecturer at the University of Sussex. Her research focuses on gender, transnationalism, and intergroup relations. She is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Since 2019 she co-coordinates the IMISCOE’s Standing committee on Gender and Sexuality in Migration Research (GenSeM).
Sirijit Sunanta is Assistant Professor at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand. Her main research interest is gender and migration. Her current research projects focus on care transnationalization and gendered labour in Thai health and well-being tourism.
Alexander Trupp is Associate Professor at the School of Hospitality and Service Management, Sunway University, Malaysia, and editor-in-chief of the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (ASEAS). His research interests include mobilities and the intersections of tourism and migration, tourism for development, and hospitality and tourism microbusinesses.