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Brenda S.A. Yeoh, Kellynn Wee and Charmian Goh

In the context of the Asia-Pacific, the corporeal geographies of migration are inflected by temporariness. The flexibilization of life and labor has led to low-waged migrants taking on the brunt of socially devalued work, particularly jobs which require demanding physical labor or the intimate care of others’ bodies. By centering corporeal geographies as an analytical lens, this chapter shows how understanding bodies as analytic and scale destabilizes binary ways of thinking, uncovers power operating at various scales, and foregrounds migrants’ experiences and desires. The authors review poststructuralist, feminist, and critical race approaches to corporeality, as well as conceptual work on emotional geographies and the ‘mobilities turn.’ They then turn to three broad themes to draw out the major contributions that corporeal geographies have made to our understandings of migration: migrant bodies and the politics of border control; migrant encounters, enclavement, and enclosure; and corporeal absence, mediated intimacy, and transnational family life. 

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Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Shirlena Huang and Theodora Lam

Transnational migration within and out of Asia is one of the main drivers of contemporary social change in the region, as seen from its impact on the long-standing social institution of the ‘family’. The mutually constitutive effects of family and migration have spawned richly variegated research illustrating conceptual pathways such as ‘transnational family’ and ‘global householding’. The chapter discusses three interrelated strands of work in this arena. First, transnational families draw on ideologically laden imaginaries to give coherence to notions of belonging despite the physical dispersal of their members. Second, transnational families are also realised through lived experiences, where varying degrees of intimacy are negotiated across transnational spaces in the context of new communication technologies. Third, families may assume transnational morphologies, with the strategic intent of remittance generation as a means of economic survival or to accumulate social and economic capital so as to maximise social mobility for the family.

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Brenda S.A. Yeoh, Shirlena Huang and Theodora Lam

This chapter examines the conceptual tools that have gained traction in understanding the links between globalization, transnational migration, families and households in the context of Asia, particularly East and Southeast Asia. We discuss two complementary approaches in particular, namely, ‘transnational families’ and ‘global householding’, and argue for recognizing the ‘family’ and ‘household’ as important sites and scales of analysis to think about globalization as an integral aspect of the social sphere, and as a route to understanding the inner workings of ‘intimate globalization’. The chapter goes on to develop two themes of particular relevance to Asia: first, how the feminization of migration has impacted the gender politics of social reproduction in families and households in source communities, especially in terms of gender identities, relations and subjectivities; and second, how care-driven migration is transforming the provision of intergenerational care along gender, class and other dimensions in both source and receiving societies in Asia. A brief conclusion highlights the need to place families and households on the research agenda in globalizing Asia.