Intimate geopolitics: Migration, marriage and citizenship across Chinese borders

What is ‘Intimate Geopolitics’ and why is it a useful analytical concept for examining marriage migration?

In this seminar I depart from the geopolitical and biopolitical conceptualizations of marriage migration to situate the growing discourses on the demographic challenges in contemporary China in the developing immigration regime and state concerns over ‘marriage crisis’. I will first introduce China’s governing regime of international marriages from the perspective of its sovereign concerns related to border control, population management and national security. I will then share findings from my research project on ‘Marriage Migration across China’s Borders’. Drawing on life stories of the post-Soviet women, I will discuss how women engage in intimate geopolitics in the limited and restrictive immigration and family environments afforded to them in China. The concept of intimate geopolitics here serves as an analytical lens to examine the interplay of structural and personal dimensions of marriage migration and to capture how the women develop their citizenship and parental rights strategies to tackle emotional uncertainties about their immigrant and family statuses in China.