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Love, Money and Obligation

Transnational Marriage in a Northeastern Thai Village

New Edition

Globalization has opened up a flow of economic and cultural exchanges. While we often think about these concepts in terms of trade policies or international treaties, they also play out in more intimate spheres, such as transnational marriages.

Northeast Thailand has seen an increase in marriages between Thai women and farang (Western) men. Often the women are less well off and from rural areas in the country, while the men largely come from the United States and Europe and settle permanently in Thailand. These unions have created a new social class, with distinctive consumption patterns and lifestyles. And they are challenging gender relations and local perceptions of sexuality, marriage, and family.

In Love, Money and Obligation, Patcharin Lapanun offers an exploration of these marriages and their larger effect on Thai communities. Her interviews with women and men engaging in these transnational relationships highlight the complexities of the associations, as they are shaped by love, money, and gender obligations on the one hand and the dynamics of socio-cultural and historical contexts on the other. Her in-depth and even-handed examination highlights the importance of women’s agency and the strength and creativity of people seeking to forge meaningful lives in the processes of social transition and in the face of local and global encounters.

256 pages | 11 halftones, 1 map, 6 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2019

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Sociology: Sociology--Marriage and Family

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“Well-researched and easy to follow, Lapanun’s Love, Money and Obligation is a powerful reminder of how interconnected the world has become—and how love can develop between people from completely different backgrounds.”

South China Morning Post

"What distinguishes Lapanun’s work from others is how she draws the readers into contemporary stories of mia farang without confining them in a specific category.... [The book] is well written and accessible, making it appropriate for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for general readers. While focused on the people of a Thai village, it is a timely addition to the broader continuing feminist debates on international heterosexual unions, representation of women’s agency, and changing cultural norms in the context of transnational lives."

Minjeong Kim | American Journal of Sociology

"Patcharin gives a powerful and interesting introduction to her book. . . . For those who are not familiar with Isan, this is a highly valuable book that sheds light on transnational marriage and its complex nature, with regional inequality in the background."

Southeast Asian Studies

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