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Waseda Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies Colloquium Series

2023 Migration Lecture Series

"Women Migrants, Emotions, and Digital Entrepreneurship between China and Taiwan"

Date and venue:

Jan 11 2023 (Wednesday), 16:30-18:00 JST | Online (Zoom)



Dr. Beatrice Zani (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of East-Asian Studies, McGill University)

Dr. Beatrice Zani is a sociologist, and postdoctoral research fellow in Taiwan Studies at McGill University, Department of East-Asian Studies. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and a lecturer at Sciences Po Lyon (France). Beatrice received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Lyon University (December 2019). She is also a research associate at the Centre for Taiwan Studies (University of California, Santa Barbara), the European Research Centre on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT, Tuebingen University), TRIANGLE (ENS Lyon, France), at the Migration, Diaspora and Exile Research Centre (MIDEX- UCLan, UK), and at the Institut Convergences Migrations (Paris, France). She is also an executive board member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) and of the network ‘Migration’ of the French Sociological Association (AFS).

Her ongoing research looks at the link between migration, emotion, and digital platforms in the making of capitalism through the case study of migrant maritime labour and digital entrepreneurship in the shipping and logistics infrastructures in China, Taiwan, and Jinmen.

Her first monograph Women Migrants in Southern China and in Taiwan. Mobilities, Digital Economies and Emotions (Routledge, 2021) follows the social life of an orange, fluorescent bra to trace the migratory paths, biographical experiences, and entrepreneurial practices of Chinese migrant women who move from the countryside to the city, their marriage-migration to Taiwan and, eventually, re-migration to China post-divorce. Based on multi-sited ethnographic research in China and in Taiwan, including 140 biographical interviews, her work considers the development of digital social networks, solidarity practices, and e-entrepreneurship by women to undo a condition of subalternity along their multiple mobilities. With close attention to the link between migration, emotion, and digital worlds, the book illuminates the making of novel digital, commercial, and emotional geographies of interconnection between China and Taiwan, and the multiple forms that globalisation can take.


In this talk, I draw on my multi-sited ethnographic work in China and Taiwan, including over one hundred and forty interviews, and I explore the mobilities of Chinese women who move from the countryside to the city in China and who re-migrate to Taiwan through marriage. I look at the ways Chinese migrant women in Taiwan cope with a condition of social, economic and familial vulnerability, by developing online gendered social networks and practices of digital entrepreneurship through the social media platform WeChat. I analyze the functioning of digital entrepreneurship, the ways it is performed, the commodities commercialized, and the commercial circuits identified by women across the Taiwan Strait. I discuss how borders and trading restrictions are contested and transgressed though e-commerce; how the markets explored are not only socially, but also emotionally constructed. Broadly, in this talk I elucidate how, in the digital age of migration, Chinese women’s migratory paths are complexifying and are growingly characterized by a use of digital platforms by the ‘connected’ migrants. Looking at the e-entrepreneurship produced by Chinese women in Taiwan, we will delve into the new digital, emotional, and commercial geographies of interconnection between China and Taiwan.

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