“Migrant Mothers and the Varieties of Absent Children”
Professor CHOI Susanne Y.P
Professor of Department of Sociology The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Advances in transportation and communication technology and the accelerated process of globalization have prompted some to envision a borderless world. Instead, in the past decade we have witnessed increasingly uninhibited anti-migration movements, which have culminated in the election of a commander-in-chief in the most powerful country of the world whose foremost agenda includes building a wall to fend off immigrants from neighboring countries. Border-crossing, border politics, and borderlands are therefore three simultaneous processes in the contemporary world. Although recent studies of borderlands have attempted to adopt a bottom-up perspective that foregrounds the impacts of bordering on the lives of ordinary people, insufficient attention has been paid to the gender dynamics of this process. Using the experiences of cross-border families living in and around the China-Hong Kong borderland, this paper examines how female marriage migrants and their families are constrained by border regimes, stigmatized by border politics, and actively build a life around bordering. This case study underlines the tension between globalization, the persistent salience of border regimes, and the conflicts of interest between communities and individuals located on different sides of the border. It also brings to the forefront the intersectionality of border politics and traditional axes of inequality including, but not limited to gender. .