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Exceptional StatesChinese Immigrants and Taiwanese Sovereignty$
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Sara L. Friedman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286221

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286221.001.0001

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Gender Talk

Gender Talk

(p.143) Five Gender Talk
Exceptional States

Sara L. Friedman

University of California Press

This chapter examines how gender norms and expectations shape the principle of dependency that undergirds Taiwan’s immigration system. It asks how dependency influences the internal dynamics of cross-border marriages and the struggles of Chinese spouses to build new lives for themselves in Taiwan. The bureaucratic performance of sovereignty through immigration regulation tightly links cross-border couples’ management of their personal lives to state demands for specifically gendered performances of marital authenticity. These state demands promote an ideal model of the national family built around a masculinized citizen-breadwinner and feminized immigrant-homemaker. By analyzing how cross-Strait couples respond to these gender ideals, the chapter shows how talk about gender provides an important register through which cross-Strait political differences and the threat of socialist socialization may be discussed, managed, and, in some cases, neutralized to make them less threatening to Taiwanese family life and national cohesion.

Keywords:   gender equality, socialism, gender roles, dependency principle, immigration policy, marriage relationship

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