Vietnamese immigrant female spouses account for the second largest group of “foreign brides” in Taiwan and South Korea. This essay examines the local industry in Vietnam that facilitates and organizes marriages between local women and foreign men. The analysis focuses on how this industry is negotiated at the village level in the context of Vietnamese state rhetoric equating female marriage migration to human trafficking and the delocalization of the marriage process (“being chosen,” being trained and being married) to foreign men from villages to larger cities. Recent expansions of the industry documented by the analysis include the recruitment of women from other provinces in the study location to marry a foreigner and matchmaking services for single men facing difficulties finding a spouse, given the current local demographic context. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in four rural villages in two provinces of Vietnam between March and December of 2012, this essay relies on the narratives of actors involved in the local industry, such as a wedding shop owner, a language trainer, and guesthouse owners, as well as interviews with local government representatives, parents of young men and women, single individuals, and married ones. The analysis shows how, at the local level, intimate industries may be embedded in kinship and intimate relationships. Consequently, the local industry outruns the commodification lens and the separation of public and private.
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1 February 2016
Danièle Bélanger; Beyond the Brokers: Local Marriage Migration Industries of Rural Vietnam. positions 1 February 2016; 24 (1): 71–96. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-3320053
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