Asian Symposium Keynote Speech by Cindy Fan- "The Household Approach Toward Migration: Examples from China and Asia"

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Asian Geography Specialty Group, China Specialty Group, Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group, Specialty Group Highlighted Session
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Marshall North, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Jennifer Pomeroy, Cindy Fan
Chairs: Jennifer Pomeroy


Despite the central role of households in motivating and implementing migration, migration theories tend to focus on migrants themselves rather than considering the household as an organizing unit of population movements. Drawing from examples from China and Asia, this paper argues that the household approach is fundamental and essential. In China, hundreds of millions of migrants from rural areas circulate between their home villages and host cities, a phenomenon that has prevailed for decades. Household-splitting that enables the earning of remittances sets in motion processes of gender and intergenerational divisions of labor that involve both the migrants and the left-behind, constrained by and challenging traditional social roles and norms. Circularity and translocality facilitate migrants’ straddling the origin and destination locations and their potential return. Large numbers of women from South and Southeast Asia are employed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, facilitated by organized recruitment that restricts their rights and settlement possibilities, and motivated by remittances as a major source of the household income. Likewise, transnational migrants who take on multiple identities and ties infuse new meanings to the “home” and to “being family.” These examples underscore the importance of considering the household rather than the migrant as the basic unit of migration theories, management and policy-making.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Discussant Cindy Fan UCLA 90 1:10 PM

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