Anju Mary Paul, Associate Professor, Yale-NUS College, Division of Social Sciences (Sociology)

Is The Trailing Wife Always Disadvantaged?: Varying Contexts Of Return For The Wives Of Western-Trained Asian Scientists

Asian scientists who train in the West may settle down overseas or may choose to return to Asia at some point in their careers. For returning scientists who are married, this return decision will also impact their spouse.

Drawing from 50 interviews with Western-trained, Asian academic bioscientists and/or their spouses who returned to China, India, Singapore or Taiwan as a result of husband-directed or joint-directed decision-making, I examine the return experiences of trailing wives. I find significant variations in these experiences across the group of trailing wives as a whole, as well as within any given wife’s post-return experience. A typology of supportive and unsupportive “contexts of return” is proposed to highlight how social, cultural, legal, and economic factors influence the post-return experience of trailing wives, independent of husbands’ gender role attitudes, and challenge the stereotype of the disadvantaged trailing spouse.

Anju Mary Paul is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. She is an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from, and within Asia. She is especially interested in how gender, labour, race and ethnicity, as well as class, intersect at the moment of migration and the post-migration experience. Her research spans the migrations of low-wage Asian migrant domestic workers as well as high-skilled Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists. She has published sole-authored articles in several journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Her books include Multinational Maids (Cambridge University Press 2017) and Local Encounters in a Global City (Ethos Books 2017).

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.

Program för Forum för forskning om transnationell migration och CEIFO-seminarier vårterminen 2018.