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ADAPTING TO A FOREIGNER IN THE FAMILY: TAIWANESE MOTHERS IN LAW AND TRANSNATIONAL MARRIAGE

Chi, Hsing Miao (2011) ADAPTING TO A FOREIGNER IN THE FAMILY: TAIWANESE MOTHERS IN LAW AND TRANSNATIONAL MARRIAGE. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

During the past two decades, a body of literature has emerged on marriage between Taiwanese men and South-East Asian women. Almost all the studies that explore aspects of the lived experience of female marriage migrants have mentioned the role of mothers-in-law, but these older women were rarely the central focus. This thesis examines the experiences of Taiwanese mothers-in-law in families with cross-border marriages, based on in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 women with South-East Asian daughters-in-law; it raises questions about how these women position themselves, both during and after their sons’ marriages and how they manage their lives with someone who comes from a different cultural background. The study shows women who are actively engaged in varied strategies across different family life stages in order to meet their expectations of seeing their sons married and having a docile daughter-in-law. In their attempts to accomplish their sons’ marriage, they not only become involved in the marriage decision but also provide all sorts of assistance to ensure that their sons will marry a traditional spouse. After marriage, the agency they develop to negotiate their relationship with these foreign women is influenced both by their previous experience as daughters-in-law and by gossip in the women’s communities. However, these women do not necessarily hold absolute power in this family setting, despite the constraints placed on their foreign daughters-in-law and their disadvantaged position as immigrants. They still encounter difficulties in adapting to the dissimilar cultural values, behaviour and practices that are brought by their foreign daughters-in-law. Through studying these women’s stories, I have expanded knowledge about families with foreign daughters-in-law and therefore added a new dimension to the study of cross-national marriage relationships.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: cross-border marriage; Taiwanese mothers-in-law; foreign spouses; women’s community; active agency
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Depositing User: Dr. Hsing Miao Chi
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2011 10:58
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1381

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