Transnational divorces in Singapore: experiences of low-income divorced marriage migrant women



Publication Details

Quah, S. Ee Ling. (2019). Transnational divorces in Singapore: experiences of low-income divorced marriage migrant women. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Online first 1-19.


Global economic restructuring saw the dramatic expansion offeminised labour and extensive mobilisation of women from lesswealthy to wealthier countries to supply reproductive labour.Some migrant women perform unpaid reproductive labourthrough marriage migration in their roles as wives, mothers anddaughters-in-law. The paper seeks to understand the divorceexperiences of low-income marriage migrant women in Singaporeafter their marriage with Singaporean husband has ended. Byengaging theorisations on transnational families, the paperdiscusses the transnational aspects of the women's divorcebiographies. Using empirical data collected through in-depthinterviews, this article examines how the women work out theirtransnational divorce biographies in these three areas: one,coping with divorce proceedings and obtaining legalrepresentation; two, working out the rights to remain in Singaporeand other livelihood issues; and three, negotiate with ex-spouseover post-divorce co-parenting arrangements. To avoid framingthe women's experiences in'victim versus agent'binary terms, thepaper examines both their struggles and strategies using atransnational, intersectional feminist framework. This analyticalperspective allows the paper to discuss how unequal effects ofglobalisation and intersection of the women's social identitiesshape their divorce trajectories, in terms of the struggles they faceand strategies they employ.

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