Asian Women and Intimate Work

Series:

Editors: Emiko Ochiai and Kaoru Aoyama
Winner of the 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award

Asian women are often labelled with biased stereotypical images, ranging from “subordinate housewife” to “migrant domestic maid,” and “overseas bride.” Asian women, in fact, are being constructed as “women among women.” These feminine roles are related to the various activities that women perform for others in intimate relationships both within and outside the family. This book comprises contributions from a distinguished group of international researchers who examine the historical development of “new women" and “good wife, wise mother,” women’s roles in socialist and transitional modernity and the transnational migration of domestic and sex workers as well as wives.

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Biographical Note

Ochiai Emiko is a professor of sociology at Kyoto University, working in the field of family sociology, gender studies and historical demography. She is the Program Leader of Global COE for Reconstruction of the Intimate and Public Spheres in 21st Century Asia and the Director of Kyoto University’s Asian Research Center for the Intimate and Public Spheres. Her publications include The Japanese Family System in Transition (LTCB International Library Foundation, 1997), Asia’s New Mothers: Crafting Gender Roles and Childcare Networks in East and Southeast Asian Societies (co-edited with Barbara Molony, Global Oriental 2008), The Stem Family in Eurasian Perspective: Revisiting House Societies, 17th-20th Centuries, (co-edited with Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Peter Lang, 2009).

Aoyama Kaoru, Ph.D. (2005, University of Essex), is a sociologist and associate professor at the Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University. Her current focus is on migrant sexworkers, trafficking issues and transformation of the intimate sphere. Her publications include Thai Migrant Sexworkers: From Modernisation to Globalisation (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2009).

Review Quotes

Winner of the 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award:

Kyoto University (Japan) sociologists Ochiai (with Barbara Molony, Asia's New Mothers, 2008) and Aoyama (Thai Migrant Sexworkers, 2009) have compiled a formidable volume on the construction of Asian women as skillful at intimate work, and how women live within this construction. The study stands out for its elucidation of the viewpoints of Asian women engaged in intimate labor, which the contributors define and investigate in capitalist and postsocialist states. Sociologists based in Asia and writing in Asian languages (translated into English) contribute 11 chapters that explore intimate work in India, China, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and Holland. The book's three parts cover the historical formation of intimate work, the emergence and transformation of the ideal image of Asian women as good wives and wise mothers, and the international migration of Asian women. The forms of intimate work treated include housework, sex work, elder care, childcare, and marital duties. Much of this labor occurs transnationally as well as, increasingly, within Asia. Authors underscore the fact that more than half of all international labor migrants are women, the majority of whom engage in intimate work, which makes this volume an important addition to the scholarship.
Summing Up: Essential.Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--T. L. Loos, Cornell University

[This review appeared in the February 2014 issue of Choice.]
Copyright 2014 American Library Association

Table of contents

List of Figures, Photographs and Tables ... vii

Introduction: Intimate Work and the Construction of Asian Women ... 1
OCHIAI Emiko

PART ONE
IMAGINING INTIMATE WORK
1. Housewives’ Work / Mothers’ Work: The Changing Position of Housework in Dutch Society ... 37
NAKATANI Ayami
2. The “Housewife” and Housework in the Indian Urban Middle Classes ... 63
OSHIKAWA Fumiko

PART TWO
MULTIPLE FACES OF THE GOOD WIFE/WISE MOTHER
3. Troubles of the “New Women” in the Emergence of Modern Korea: Focusing on the Interrelationship between “Women’s Liberation” and the Image of “Wise Mother and Good Wife” ... 93
SUH Ji Young
4. Selling Modernity: Housewives as Portrayed in Yuefenpai (Calendar Posters) and Magazine Advertisements in Shanghai of the 1920s and 1930s ... 107
WU Yongmei
5. The Gender Norms of Chinese Women in the Transitional Market Economy: Research Interviews with Wives in Three Urban Centers ... 139
ZHENG Yang
6. “To be Good at Public and Domestic Work, I Need Three Heads and Six Hands”: The Dilemma of Vietnamese “Modern” Women ... 167
KHUAT Thu Hong, BUI Thu Huong and LE Bach Duong

PART THREE
WIVES AND WORKERS CROSSING BORDERS
7. From Farmers’ Daughters to Foreign Wives: Marriage, Migration and Gender in the Sending Communities of Vietnam ... 191
Danièle BÉLANGER and TRAN Giang Linh, with LE Bach Duong and KHUAT Thu Hong
8. Commercially Arranged Marriage Migration: The Agency and Inner Struggle of Chinese Women ... 217
HAO Hongfang
9. Strategies of Resistance among Filipina and Indonesian Domestic Workers in Singapore ... 239
UENO Kayoko
10. Moving from Modernisation to Globalisation: Migrant Sex Workers in Japan ... 263
AOYAMA Kaoru
11. The Role of Multicultural Families in South Korean Immigration Policy ... 289
LEE Hye-kyung

Index ... 313

Readership

Scholars and students interested in Gender and Women Studies, Asian Studies, comparative Euro-Asian policy and history of modernisation, care work and emotional labour, contemporary migration, and the interaction between intimate and public spheres or agency and structure.

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