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Edited by Shirlena Huang and Kanchana N. Ruwanpura

The Handbook on Gender in Asia critically examines, through a gender perspective, five broad themes of significance to Asia: the ‘Theory and Practice’ of researching in Asia; ‘Gender, Ageing and Health’; ‘Gender and Labour’; ‘Gendered Migrations and Mobilities’; and ‘Gender at the Margins’. With each chapter providing an overview of the key intellectual developments on the issue under discussion, as well as empirical examples to examine how the Asian case sheds light on these debates, this collection will be an invaluable reference for scholars of gender and Asia.
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Shirlena Huang and Kanchana N. Ruwanpura

This chapter provides an overview of the volume, drawing out the broader contributions in each of the five parts in the book. It draws attention to how the chapters in Part I on ‘Gender in Asia: Theory and Practice’ highlight the differential gendered and other power relations that scholars working in and on Asia must negotiate in carrying out feminist research. The discussion then examines how the chapters in the four thematic parts of the book – on ‘Gender, Ageing and Health’, ‘Gender and Labour’, ‘Gendered Migrations and Mobilities’ and ‘Gender at the Margins’ – demonstrate the ways in which gendered norms surrounding men’s and women’s roles still characterize much of Asia. While there are some signs of change in these patriarchal attitudes, gender inequality remains high in many parts of the region. Yet, many of these issues have not received sufficient gendered analysis in Asia and there is clearly scope for more research to develop stronger theorization from an Asian perspective, as well as to create better understanding and awareness of political and social change.

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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.