Coming Home: Thai-Dutch Couples’ Spatial Trajectories at the Intersection of Mobility Capital, Gender, and Ageing
Keywords:Ageing, Gender, Marriage Migration, Mobility, Mobility Capital
This paper applies the notions of mobility, mobility capital, gender, and ageing to analyze marriage migration and the trajectories of geographical and social mobility of Thai-Dutch couples moving from the Netherlands to Thailand. It is based on in-depth interviews with 12 Thai-Dutch couples who moved from the Netherlands to Thailand and resided in Thailand for between three and twelve years. The study explores the key role of mobility capital in stimulating Thai-Dutch couples’ imaginations, their perceptions, and their potential for movement. In terms of their ‘mobility turn’, I argue that their trajectories of mobility and relocation to Thailand should not be understood as a linear and permanent movement from the Netherlands to Thailand. Rather, this mobility is fluid, complicated, and sometimes fragmented. It is marked by the practices of waiting, hesitation to move, imagining their return, preparing to move, having actually returned, and travelling back and forth between Thailand and the Netherlands. It also encompasses local spatial move-ment in daily life.
Anthias, F. (2012). Transnational mobilities, migration research and intersectionality: Towards transnatio-nal frame. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 2(2), 102-110.
Bianchi, R. V., Stephenson, M. L., & Hannam, K. (2020). The contradictory politics of the right to travel: mobilities, borders & tourism. Mobilities, 15(2), 290-306.
Botterill, K. (2017). Discordant lifestyle mobilities in East Asia: Privilege and precarity of British retirement in Thailand. Population, Space and Place, 23, e2011. https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2011.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Eds.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258). Greenwood Press.
Brown, P. (2016). Circulating remittances: Cross-border negotiation of family values among Thai migrant women and their Dutch husbands. In M. Nowicka & V. Serbedzija (Eds.), Migration and social remittances in a global Europe (pp. 169-190). Palgrave Macmillan.
Butratana, K., & Trupp A. (2011). Thai communities in Vienna. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 4(1), 183-190.
Butratana, K., & Trupp, A. (2021). Gender, class, and paradoxical mobilities of Thai marriage migrants in Austria. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 42(1), 85-106.
Butratana, K., Trupp, A., & Husa, K. (2022). Intersections of tourism, cross-border marriage, and retirement migration in Thailand. In N. Bloch & K. Adams (Eds.), Intersections of tourism, migration, and exile (pp. 148-169). Routledge.
Bui, H. T., & Trupp, A. (2020). Asian tourism in Europe: consumption, distinction, mobility, and diversity. Tourism Recreation Research, 45(1), 4-18.
Cassarino, J.-P. (2004). Theorising return migration: The conceptual approach to return migrants revisi-ted. International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 6(2), 253-279.
Conlon, D. (2011). Waiting: Feminist perspectives on the spacings/timings of migrant (im)mobility. Gender, Place and Culture, 18(3), 353-360.
Crescenzia, R., Luca, D., & Milo, S. (2016). The geography of the economic crisis in Europe: national macroeconomic conditions, regional structural factors and short-term economic performance. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 9, 13–32.
Cresswell, T. (2006). On the move: mobility in the modern Western world. Routledge. Cresswell, T. (2010). Towards a politics of mobility. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28, 17-31.
De Hass, H., Fokkema, T., & Fihri, M. S. (2015). Return migration as failure or success? The determinants of return migration intentions among Moroccan migrants in Europe. International Migration and Integration, 16, 415-429.
Faist, T. (2013). The mobility turn: A new paradigm for the social sciences? Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(11), 1637-1646.
Fresnoza-Flot, A., & Merla, L. (2018) ‘Global householding’ in mixed families: The case of Thai migrant women in Belgium. In I. Crespi, S. Giada Meda, & L. Merla (Eds.), Making multicultural families in Europe (pp. 23-37). Palgrave Macmillan.
Ganesh, K. (2005). Made to measure. Dutch elder care at the intersections of policy and culture. In K. Ganesh, R. Palriwala, & C. Risseeuw (Eds.), Care culture and citizenship: Revisiting the politics of the Dutch welfare state (pp. 116-158). Spinhuis Publishers.
Green, P. (2015). Mobility regimes in practice: Later-life Westerners and visa runs in South-East Asia. Mobilities, 10(5), 748-763.
Hannam, K., Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2006). Mobilities, immobilities, and mooring. Mobilities, 1(1), 1-22.
Howard, R. W. (2008). Western retirees in Thailand: Motives, experiences, wellbeing, assimilation and future needs. Ageing and Society, 28, 145-163.
Hunter, A. (2011). Theory and practice of return migration at retirement: The case of migrant worker hostel residents in France. Population, Space and Place, 17, 179-192.
Husa, K., Vielhaber, C., Joestl, J., Veress, K., & Wieser, B. (2014). Searching for paradise? International retirement migration to Thailand A case study of Hua Hin and Cha-am, In K. Husa, A. Trupp, & H. Wohlschlagl (Eds.), Southeast Asian mobility transition. recent trends in tourism and migration(pp. 137-167). Vienna Institut fur Geographie und Regionalforschung.
Ishii, S. (2016). Marriage migrants as multi-marginalized transnational diaspora. In S. Ishii (Ed.), Marriage migration in Asia. Emerging minorities at the frontier of nation-states (pp. 1-23). NUS Press & Kyoto University Press.
Jaisuekun, K., & Sunanta, S. (2016). Lifestyle migration in Thailand: A case study of German migrants in Pataya. Thammasat Review, 19(2), 89-104.
Kanchanachitra, M., & Chuenglertsiri, P. (2020). Thai wives in Europe and European husbands in Thailand: How social locations shape their migration experiences and engagement with host societies. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(8), 1588-1605.
Kaufmann, V., Bergman, M. M., & Joye, D. (2004). Mobility: Mobility as capital. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(4), 745-756.
Kou, A., & Bailey, A. (2014). “Movement is a constant feature in my life”: Contextualising migration process of highly skilled Indians. Geoforum, 52, 113-122.
Lafferty, M., & Maher, K. H. (2020). Transnational intimacy and economic precarity of Western men in Northeast Thailand. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(8), 1629-1646.
Langevang, T., & Gough, K. V. (2009). Surviving through movement: The mobility of urban youth in Ghana. Social and Cultural Geography, 10(7), 741-756.
Lapanun, P. (2019). Love, money and obligation: Transnational marriage in a Northeastern Thai village. NUS Press.
Lu Chia-Wen, M. (2005). Commercially arranged marriage migration: Case studies of cross-border marriages in Taiwan. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 12(2&3), 275-303.
Lutz, H., & Amelina, A. (2021). Intersectionality and transnationality as key tools for gender-sensitive mig-ration research. In C. Mora & N. Piper (Eds.), The Palgrave handbook of gender and migration (pp. 55-72). Palgrave Macmillan.
Maher, K. H., & Lafferty, M. (2014). White migrant masculinities in Thailand and the paradoxes of Western privilege. Social and Cultural Geography, 15(4), 427-448.
Mix, P. R., & Piper, N. (2003). Does marriage “liberate” women from sex work? Thai women in Germany. In N. Piper & M. Roces (Eds.), Wife or worker? Asian women and migration (pp. 53-72). Rowman & Littlefield.
Moret, J. (2020). Mobility capital: Somali migrants’ trajectories of (im)mobilities and the negotiation of social inequalities across borders. Geoforum, 116, 235-242.
Rangkla, P. (2019). Future-making and frictional mobility in the return of Burmese migrants. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 12(1), 17-30.
Ruenkaew, P. (1999, July). Marriage migration of Thai women to Germany. Paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Thai Studies, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Schewel, K. (2020). Understanding immobility: Moving beyond the mobility bias in migration studies. International Migration Review, 54(2), 328-355.
Schiller, N. G., Basch, L., & Blanc‐Szanton, C. (1992). Transnationalism: A new analytic framework for understanding migration. Annals of the New York academy of sciences, 645(1), 1-24.
Scuzzarello, S. (2020). Practicing privilege. How settling in Thailand enables older Western migrants to enact privilege over local people. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(8), 1606-1628.
Sheller, M. (2014). The New mobilities paradigm for a live sociology. Current Sociology Review, 62(6), 789-811.
Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2006). The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning, 38, 207-226.
Silvey, R. (2004). Power, difference and mobility: Feminist advances in migration studies. Progress in Human Geography, 28(4), 490-506.
Sociale Verzekeringsbank. (2022). AOW pension rates depending on living situation. Retrieved from https://www.svb.nl/en/aow-pension/how-much-will-you-get-in-aow-pension-and-other-pensions/aow-amounts-depending-on-living-situation
Statham, P. (2020). Living the long-term consequences of Thai-Western marriage migration: The radical life-course transformations of women who partner older Westerners. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(8), 1562-1587.
Statham, P., Scuzzarello, S., Sunanta, S., & Trupp, A. (2020). Globalising Thailand through gendered ‘both-ways’ migration pathways with ‘The West’: Cross-border connections between people, states, and places. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(8), 1513-1542.
Sunanta, S., & Angeles, L. C. (2013). From rural life to transnational wife: Agrarian transition, gender mobility and intimate globalization in transnational marriages in Northeast Thailand. Gender, Place and Culture, 20(6), 699-717.
Sunanta, S., & Jaisuekun, K. (2022). Care as right and care as commodity: Positioning international reti-rement migration in Thailand’s old age care. In C. Schweppe (Ed.), Retirement migration in the Global South (pp. 209-277). Springer.
Suksomboon, P. (2004). Thai massage in the Netherlands. A study of a group of Thai migrant women. Master's thesis, Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam.
Suksomboon, P. (2008). Remittances and ‘social remittances’: Their impact on livelihoods of Thai women in the Netherlands and non-migrants in Thailand. Gender, Technology and Development, 12(3), 461-482.
Suksomboon, P. (2009). Thai migrant women in the Netherlands: Cross-cultural marriages and families. PhD dissertation, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University.
ten Brummelhuis, H., & Stengs, I. (2007). Thai-Dutch interactions in the Thai community. In D. na Pombejra, H. ten Brummelhuis, N. Chutiwongs & P. Charoenwongsa (Eds.), Proceedings of the international symposium crossroads of Thai and Dutch history (pp. 369-398). SEAMEO-SPAFA.
Tosakul, R. (2010). Cross-border marriages: Experiences of village women from Northeast Thailand with Western men. In Wen-Shan Yang & M. Chia-Wen Lu (Eds.), Asian Cross-Border Marriage Migration: Demographic Patterns and Social Issues (pp. 179-199). Amsterdam University Press.
Vaiou, D. (2012). Gendered mobilities and border-crossings: From Elbasan to Athens. Gender, Place and Culture, 19(2), 249-262.
Yeoh, B. S. (2021). Conceptual contours of migration studies in and from Asia. International Migration, 59(6), 225-233.
Copyright (c) 2022 Panitee Brown
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
For all articles published in ASEAS before December 2014 and after July 2022, copyright is retained by the authors. For articles published between January 2015 and June 2022, the Society for South-East Asian Studies (SEAS) is the copyright holder. Articles published in ASEAS before December 2019 are licensed under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported. Articles published after that date are licensed under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International. In both cases, this means that everybody is free to share (to copy, to distribute, and to transmit the work) under the following conditions:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.