University of Sussex
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Transnationalism, family life, and wellbeing: opportunities and challenges for Thai marriage migrants in the UK

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posted on 2023-06-09, 21:47 authored by Pattraporn Chuenglertsiri
This thesis aims to identify opportunities and challenges of Thai marriage migrants in the UK in the context of transnational migration. In-depth, semi-structure interviews with 31 Thai marriage migrants were conducted to gain insights into their lived experiences. By identifying opportunities and challenges facing Thai women in the UK, this thesis contributes original knowledge on Thai women’s post-migratory practices, cross-border connections, and wellbeing. I argue that cross-border connections play a crucial role in Thai marriage migrants’ experiences and wellbeing in the host country. However, these connections are not static and can be strengthened or weakened depending on women’s changing life circumstances. I explore Thai women’s engagement in the home and beyond through four empirical components. First, I examine Thai women’s social network formation and exchange of social capital with their co-ethnics and local people. Essentially, how women strategically use their social networks and exchange their social capital have important impacts on their wellbeing. Second, I explore the relationship of Thai women and homeland-state-religion organisations through a case study of a Thai temple in London. Here, I investigate how visiting the temple influences the maintenance of cross-border links of Thai marriage migrants and their wellbeing. I also examine how women partake and interact with the temple’s activities and social groups. Third, I observe issues of everyday negotiations in Thai-British families, child-rearing decisions, and family aspirations, to discover how transnational practices permeate the private sphere of the family. Last, I focus on women’s personal perceptions of opportunities and challenges they face while living in the UK. Employment, improved financial situation, access to welfare, and being in a more ‘liberating’ society are viewed as prominent opportunities. Whilst deskilling, pressure from natal family, lack of social capital, family disagreement, domestic abuse, and adjustment to a new society are perceived as main challenges for Thai marriage migrants in the UK.


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