PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (11): 1909-1922.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.11.011

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Gender, resources, and power of female cross-border marriage immigrants’ home space: A case of villages in Western Guangdong Province

WAN Hui1,2(), ZHU Hong3,4,*()   

  1. 1. School of Humanities and Law, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
    2. Center for Cultural Industry and Cultural Geography, School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    3. Center for Human Geography and Urban Development, School of Geographical Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
    4. Guangdong Provincial Research Institution of Urban and Migration Studies, Guangzhou 510005, China
  • Received:2019-11-25 Revised:2020-04-24 Online:2020-11-28 Published:2021-01-28
  • Contact: ZHU Hong;
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China(41630635);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871136)


From the perspective of new cultural geography, space not only carries material attributes but also represents a container of social relations. Family is usually discussed in terms of ethics and regarded as an ethical organism. However, family always takes the form of spatial entity that reflects a complex and subtle power structure among its members. Using the framework of the economic, emotional, and social components of family resources as well as the practical, decorative, and defensive characteristics of home space, this study examined how Vietnamese wives of the transnational families in Huashi Town, Luoding City, Guangdong Province practice self-empowerment in everyday life by occupying, dividing, decorating, and utilizing their home space. The study found that: 1) The Vietnamese wives who contribute most to their household incomes have more power than their husbands in making decisions about the set-up and arrangement of the home space. 2) The Vietnamese wives view their home space as a channel of expressing self-emotion and identity and establish control of the space by decorating the home. 3) Being excluded from the public space due to the lack of social resources, the Vietnamese wives use their home space as a defensive fortress to avoid socializing with neighbors. It is suggested that while women in transnational marriages are able to exert power in their home space, such power is confined within the home and difficult to expand to the outside world. The study contributes to existing literature of cultural geography by deepening the current understanding of gender in home space.

Key words: female cross-border marriage immigrant, home space, spatial practice, family resources, gender power, Luoding City of Guangdong Province