Promiscuous capitalism meets exotic' ethnicity: Intimate aspirations amongst cross-border Chinese Dai

Chris Lyttleton*, R. Deng, Nan Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many ethnic Dai women from one remote county in Southwest China seek work in Thailand. This exodus builds on a combination of regional Tai cultural affinity and interpersonal skills with Chinese/Malaysian men. Cross-border labour migration foregrounds growing neoliberal subjectivities as prior modes of trafficking evolve into trajectories of voluntary entrepreneurialism. Transnational work in Thai massage parlours blends intimate relations and monetary gain as Dai women merge the productive with the reproductive. At the same time, their movement and self-enterprise sit uneasily with cross-border disease control. Dai mobility is seen as problematic to the State body as assumptions concerning gendered and 'ethnic' sexuality and its potential to introduce HIV to China create targeted surveillance and control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-331
Number of pages18
JournalThe Australian Journal of Anthropology
Volume22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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