The article provides a theoretical overview of the study of the commodification of intimacy in Asia, specifically charting a framework for understanding its institutionalization. It introduces the concept of “intimate industries,” meaning the economic institutions that market the intimacies of affect, care, reproduction, and sex. These industries include surrogacy clinics, bridal photography studios, ecotourism sites, and among others, overseas call centers. The article maps the types of labor that intimate industries create, the types of personal relations they sustain, the moral conflicts and anxieties they engender, and lastly, their constitution of the body and biopolitics. The article draws attention to the reconfiguration of the economic world system through its discussion of the emergence of new nonmanufacturing sectors in Asia and the deepening marketization of longstanding sectors.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
This content is made freely available by the publisher. It may not be redistributed or altered. All rights reserved.