Visible Mixedness But Invisible Couples

Affiche séminaireStudy on Intimacy and Stigma of Ethnic Minority Couples in Hong Kong

30 June 2021
11:00-12:00 (Central European Time)

We are pleased to announce the the online seminar by Herbary ZHANG, organised by the East Asian Studies, research unit of the Université libre de Bruxelles dedicated to the study of East Asia.

Registration here.

As a multicultural cosmopolitan, transnational migration has an inseparable relationship with the socio-economic development of Hong Kong, the phenomenon of transnational marriage has become one of the influential factors impacting the family and social structure in this city. Unlike the previous research focus on Hong Kong-mainland China couples or Hong Kong-Western Couples, this research will investigate the intimacy and stigma of the “invisible” ethnic minority couples in Hong Kong by using ethnography and case study approaches. As a new project, this presentation will discuss a few preliminary observations regarding the sociodemographic backgrounds of the ethnic minority couples, the sub-type of the ethnic minority couples (i.e. ethnic minority with Hong Kong ID; domestic workers and refugee and asylum-seekers), the relationship among them and the local society’s perceptions. Based on my pilot fieldwork studies, I will share their life histories and love stories to explain their rationalized willingness and desire to embrace transient sexual intimacies or marriage and family relations as part of their living strategies in Hong Kong. By developing the concept of "intersectional stigma", I will elaborate on the multi-layer stigmatization they experienced based on their intersected gendered, raced, and classed status, and the differentiated process of stigmatization towards those mixedness couples, starting from self-stigma, moving to their friends and families, even within their own community, then their workplaces and employers, and last, they have to face stigma from both Hong Kong society and their home countries.