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"Mistresses" and "maids" in transnational "contact zones": Expatriate wives and the intersection of difference and intimacy in Swedish domestic spaces in Singapore
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6560-5957
2013 (English)In: Women's Studies: International Forum, ISSN 0277-5395, Vol. 36, no SI, 44-53 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the tensions that arise when professionally educated Swedish migrant women relocate to a temporary expatriate wife status, with a particular focus on the transnational household as a “contact zone” between expats and migrant domestic workers in Singapore. Based on interviews and ethnographic work with 13 Swedish women and one month of fieldwork in the Swedish community in Singapore in spring 2009, the article investigates the women's altered positions as “trailing spouses” and employers from an intersectional perspective that highlights the politics of difference between women with regard to constructions of race, femininity and intimacy. In this context, the article explores how processes of globalisation, transnational migration and division of labour are played out between the different migrant women in the household sphere, thus broadening contemporary discussions by including privileged practices and positions in transnational migration. As expatriate wives, the Swedish women were often locked into conservative frames, oriented towards “family values”, negotiated in relation to (former) ideologies of gender equality and (new) power relations in the household sphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 36, no SI, 44-53 p.
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85571DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2012.09.002ISI: 000314325800006OAI: diva2:571775
Available from: 2012-11-23 Created: 2012-11-23 Last updated: 2014-01-10

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Lundström, Catrin
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Department of Culture StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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Women's Studies: International Forum
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

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