The Resilient Self: Gender, Immigration, and Taiwanese Americans

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Chien-Juh GU, Western Michigan University, USA
This book examines how international migration creates gendered work and family contexts for middle-class Taiwanese women, which significantly affects their perceptions of themselves, others, and their roles and behaviors in the family, workplace, and the larger society. I used life-history interviews with 45 women (ranging from 2 to 12 hours with each subject) and ethnographic observations over 7 years to collect data. This approach and the theme of the book align with RC32’s objective to “promote the development of theory, methods, and practice concerning women in society and the gendered nature of social institutions.”

Although many sociologists have studied immigrant women’s adaptation experiences, most focus on laborers. Previous studies also tend to examine only immigrant women’s family or work lives, thereby neglecting the interconnections of work, family, and gender. Based on a middle-class sample, this book discusses the profound influences of the multifaceted connections of gender, work, and family (and other structural factors) and their influences on immigrant women’s selfhood and lived experiences. By bringing self into the study of gender and immigration, my book examines gendered immigration from women’s standpoints and understandings of themselves. This approach aligns with RC32’s goal to “encourage the critical evaluation of current sociological paradigms from the perspective of all subordinate groups, including women.”

In a global era, the topic of gender and immigration is extremely important, especially for gender scholars who conduct international research. My book discusses how gender, immigration, class, race and ethnicity, culture, family, and work intersect in varied ways to shape women’s understandings of themselves, others, their roles in different social domains, and their behaviors in various social contexts. This broad coverage of topics would be appealing to scholars of various subfields in sociology, such as family research, immigration research, gender research, social psychology, and race and ethnic studies.