Arianne Gaetano was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for
East and Southeast Asian Studies, Lund University. She received a PhD in
Anthropology and Certificate in Gender Studies from the University of
Southern California in 2005. During 2006-2007 she was a post-doctoral
fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
Her primary research interests are cultural identities, social roles,
and inequality in contemporary China. In particular her work focuses on
rural-urban migration, gender relations, and marriage and family. She
was co-editor (with Tamara Jacka) and contributor to On the Move:
Women and Rural-to-Urban Migration in Contemporary China (Columbia
University Press 2004) and has forthcoming articles in Gender, Place
and Culture as well as Visual Anthropology Review.
At the Centre, Arianne plans to finalize a book manuscript, New Directions, New Destinies: Rural-Urban Migrant Women Remaking Gender and Transforming Contemporary China, that incorporates her dissertation and updates it with new research conducted in 2006-08. She also will follow through to publication a special journal issue (co-edited with Brenda S.A. Yeoh) that presents selected papers from an international workshop she convened in 2007 at the Asia Research Institute, on Women and Migration in Globalizing Asia. In addition, Arianne will undertake two new, related projects under the rubric of Gender and Family Change in Contemporary China. The first investigates the growing phenomenon of delayed marriage or non-marriage among women in China’s cities, and uses ethnographic methods to explore their self-identities, and how these are articulated in relation to dominant discourses on gender and family. The second project, pending funding, focuses on the impact of return migration on women’s family and gender roles, relations, and identities. In different ways, each project seeks to understand how “family” is being sustained, challenged, and transformed in contemporary China, and in particular, women’s agency in this process. Each study will document changing meanings, practices, affects, and expectations of family produced by single women and migrant women, respectively. I will evaluate the impacts of such changes on women, as well as how cultural ideals are reproduced or reconfigured through everyday responses to the challenges of contemporary China, and why women may paradoxically perpetuate gender inequality through their own emotional and material investment in the ideal of family and its associated gender roles and identities.