In full swing? how do pendulum migrant labourers in vietnam adjust their sexual perspectives to their rural-urban lives?

Huong Ngoc Nguyen, Melissa Hardesty, Khuat Thu Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Having emerged only recently due to fast urbanisation and globalisation, pendulum migrant labourers in Vietnam are economically, culturally and socially difficult to locate-though they are estimated to number in their millions. Defined by their frequent migration between village and city, pendulum migrant labourers occupy an extended period of liminality. Are they traditional villagers or liberal city people when it comes to sex? Does city life radically change their views on sexuality? Starting with the premise that living environments play a key role in structuring the practical and symbolic realities of sex, this paper explores how extended periods of circular migration between the village and city-living environments that differ markedly in terms of socioeconomic and cultural conditions-affect the sexual views and perspectives of Vietnamese pendulum migrant labourers. Analysis from in-depth interviews with 23 married pendulum migrant labourers revealed that even though they had been living the pendulum life for several years, they continued to identify themselves, sexually, as traditional villagers. Among labourers the link between sexuality and living environment was a matter of pragmatism-matching 'suitable' sexual behaviour to social, even if imagined, location-and of privilege or 'leagues' - matching behaviour and comportment to social pedigree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1193-1206
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Migrant labour
  • Rural-to-urban migrants
  • Sexual behaviour
  • Vietnam

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