Change and permanence in contemporary Chinese families: A case study of marriages across the Taiwan Strait

Momesso, Lara orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4042-9384 (2015) Change and permanence in contemporary Chinese families: A case study of marriages across the Taiwan Strait. In: Migration – Geschlecht – Lebenswege. LIT Verlag. ISBN 978-3-643-13139-3

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This paper explores the phenomenon of cross-border family formation by looking at the specificity of the socio-political contexts of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan. In a time marked by an increase of economic and social exchanges between the two societies living across the strait of sea dividing the PRC from Taiwan, marriages between mainland Chinese and Taiwanese citizens have re-gained their momentum after almost forty years of interruption of any formal contacts between the two populations.
By applying a gender analysis and building on the idea that the traditional Confucian order, characterising the cultural roots of both mainland Chinese and Taiwanese societies, has been reconfigured differently on each side due to the separate processes of modernisation, this paper explores cross-Strait families as the realms where these two worlds encounter and question each other, and, ultimately, reconfigure the shared tradition they originate from.
Basing this discussion on the original ethnographic data collected during a ten-month fieldwork activity which involved participant observation and in-depth interviews with cross-Strait family members in Taipei (between December 2010 and October 2011), this paper will attempt to shed light on the complexity of cross-Strait families, and within these, of mainland spouses' lives in Taiwan. While different struggles and strategies unfold through the accounts of my respondents, the idea of a Chinese family, and a cross-Strait family within it, as something definite, fixed and uniform is problematised and different possibilities emerge.

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