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From Thailand to Hong Kong

Couverture South East Asia Research, volume 29 - 2021From Thailand to Hong Kong: reinventing womanhood in the journeys of migrant women

We are pleased to announce the publication of an article by Herbary ZHANG in SOAS's South East Asia Research, on June 11th, 2021.

Gender affects how people are socialized, how they see and treat themselves and how they interact with other people. Drawing on ethnographic research in Hong Kong, this paper seeks to contribute to the scholarship on gender and migration.

By using the identity negotiation framework, it examines how assumptions about gender roles and expectations learned by Thai migrant women in Thailand are called into question upon arrival in Hong Kong, and how, during their journey of transnational migration, these Thai migrant women reinvent their womanhood in the labour market and family life in Hong Kong. This study reveals interesting contradictions between, on the one hand, the seemingly homogeneous stereotype of traditional Thai womanhood and, on the other hand, the fluidity and intersectionality of actual Thai womanhood practices in real-life migration contexts. By emphasizing the engendering journey of Thai women in the labour market and family life in Hong Kong, this paper highlights the intersectionality of ethnicity, class and gender in the social construction of womanhood in the context of transnational migration.

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