The Politics of Migrant Family Drama: Mainland Chinese Immigrants in Singapore

  • Chan Kwok-bun
  • Seet Chia Sing


This chapter attempts to unfold the family drama of mainland Chinese migrants in Singapore in terms of their gender and generation politics—the interpersonal as well as role conflicts within the domestic domain as they were engendered and negotiated during the migration process. The “better life” promise of migration for each and every family member was scrutinised—each time gazing at a different member in the context of his or her institutionalised position in the family. As it happened, divided rather than common interests emerged. Not all benefited from moving. Yet all were convinced of the family having made “the right move”. The social construction of the family was further strengthened by transnationalism, which reproduced the “reality” of family solidarity through mundane everyday life activities acted out across borders. But when internalised as a construct, an ideal, the family bonded its members—thus its internal cohesiveness. It also bound and controlled the self. Sure there were gains, but there were also losses, especially on the part of the less powerful. Globalization and transnationalism have yet to fulfil their promises.


Migrant Woman Migration Decision Migration Study Migrant Family Gift Exchange 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chan Institute of Social Studies (CISS)Hong KongChina
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsGovernment of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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