Love, Money and Obligation: Transnational Marriage in a Northeastern Thai Village

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Shortlisted for the ICAS Book Prize 2021 English - Best Book in the Social Sciences 2021.

by Patcharin Lapanun

Globalization means transnational marriages and intimacies become increasingly viable options for women and men. Patcharin Lapanun explores the marriages of Thai women with *farang* men,  and complicates conventional views about materiality and intimacy in these settings.The sentiments and life stories of women and men engaging in these transnational relationships highlight the complexities of the associations that are shape and reshaped by love, money and gender obligations on the one hand and the dynamics of socio-cultural and historical contexts on the other.

Transnational marriages challenge gender relations, perceptions of sexuality, marriage and family as well as existing class divisions in rural Thai communities. Working in depth in one particular community in Northeast Thailand, and so focusing on the “local end” of these transnational connections, Lapanun sees these families as comprising a new social class, as determined by their distinctive consumption patterns and life styles. They challenge  village hierarchical structure, and put village elites in a vulnerable position. Her in-depth examination highlights the important 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. 

"This well-written book is a very valuable contribution to many fields of study including the growing global phenomenon of transnational marriage, the strategies of Thai and other women in the context of globalization, and the changing nature of the Thai village… Patcharin brings to the study not only a local perspective combined with academic rigor, but also a large measure of humanity and compassion."
- Pasuk Phongpaichit, Journal of Mekong Societies

"Empirically sound and equally enjoyable for the lay reader as for the academic, Love, Money and Obligation is an eye-opening read on the complexities and realities of international unions in our globalized world."
- T F Rhoden, South China Morning Post

"Love, Money and Obligation is a must read for anyone dissatisfied with the stereotypes that depict transnational marriages as little more than sex trafficking..."
- Mary Beth Mills, Colby College, USA, author of Thai Women in the Global Labor Force 

Patcharin Lapanun holds a PhD in Anthropology from Vrije University Amsterdam, and is with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.

Publication Year: 2019
208 pages, 229mm x 152mm
1 map, 6 tables, 11 b/w photos
ISBN: 978-981-4722-91-9