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Title: Singaporeans in China: Transnational women elites and the negotiation of gendered identities
Authors: Yeoh, B.S.A. 
Willis, K.
Keywords: Accompanying spouses
Skilled migration
Women entrepreneurs
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Yeoh, B.S.A., Willis, K. (2005). Singaporeans in China: Transnational women elites and the negotiation of gendered identities. Geoforum 36 (2 SPEC. ISS.) : 211-222. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The burgeoning literature on transnationalism involving skilled migrants - based largely on the view from the developed world - have generally paid little heed to "elite" women and the reproductive sphere. We argue that women play many roles in elite transnational migration streams and must be given full consideration as part of the "transnational elite." Attention is given to the way women - both "tied" and "lead" migrants - negotiate gendered identities as they participate in Singapore's regionalisation process, a state-driven initiative to extend the national economy by leveraging on growth in the region. Empirical material for the paper is mainly based on in-depth interviews with married women who were part of a larger project involving interviews with 150 Singaporeans who had lived, or were living, in China. In examining the movements through transnational space between Singapore and China, it is clear that patriarchal norms continue to shape women's understandings of their own identities vis-�-vis men's. Singapore women who move as accompanying spouses (the majority) find themselves giving up careers to focus on their domestic role in China (in the absence of access to "suitable" paid domestic service), and are not so much "deskilled" but "re-domesticated". The exceptional few women who ventured into China as entrepreneurs experienced considerable strain holding together geographically separate spheres of productive and reproductive work across the transnational terrain. Both sets of "stories" alert us to the need to include "elite" women - whether accompanying spouses or independent entrepreneurs - in our understanding of "transnational elites." This will contribute to the urgent task of ensuring that both productive and reproductive work are valorized in equal measure in conceptualizing transnationalism. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Geoforum
ISSN: 00167185
DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2003.07.004
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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