Becoming a migrant : vietnamese emigration to East Asia

Authors: Bélanger, Danièle; Wang, Hong-zen
Abstract: Since the early 1990s several million men and women from Southeast Asia's lower socioeconomic classes have migrated to East Asia with a temporary worker visa or a spousal visa. This article is based on five years of ongoing fieldwork in migrants' communities of origin in rural Vietnam and in places of destination in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. The authors make three contributions: first, they argue that the categorization of migrants as either “workers” or “wives” in research obscures the complex trajectories and motives involved in the process of “becoming a migrant.” Second, they challenge studies that unquestioningly invoke social network approaches to migration. Instead, social networks should be regarded as a double-edged sword for emigrants because personal networks are embedded in a powerful migration industry. Third, they contend that migration outcomes and levels of success are, in part, influenced by processes taking place before departure. This article sheds light on the tension between migrants' agency and the structural constraints faced by candidates seeking to migrate from Vietnam, and from Southeast Asia more broadly.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 1 March 2013
Open Access Date: 14 October 2016
Document version: VoR
This document was published in: Pacific Affairs, Vol. 86 (1), 31–50 (2013)
University of British Columbia
Alternative version: 10.5509/2013861031
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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