Mobile householding and marital dissolution in Vietnam: An inevitable consequence?

Catherine Locke, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam, Nguyen Thi Ngan Hoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The challenges of householding across time and space inevitably strain marital roles and relationships, as well as providing temptations and opportunities for sexual infidelity, and is assumed to increase the propensity for marital breakdown. This paper raises questions about the assumed relationship between migration and marital disruption through qualitative evidence from Vietnam. We focus on 14 men and women migrants with disrupted marriages in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. We explore their interpretations of the breakdown of their marriages and the role that migration played within this. Long-standing views in Vietnam prioritise the creation and sustaining of household-level social processes over and above couple’s intimacy and emotional relationship and these are highly resilient in the face of extended spousal separation. At the same time, though, some men and some women actively choose to disrupt their marriages where expectations about intimacy, fidelity, and obligations for provisioning and care were not met. We argue that migration plays into experiences of marital disruption in highly divergent ways and experiences of marital disruption and migration are more subtly gendered than is commonly portrayed. In doing so, we seek to contribute to both the literature on householding and to policy thinking about responses to migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273–283
Early online date1 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

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