Transnational marriages in Yiwu, China: tensions over money

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In this article, I explore the role of transnational marriages in the activities and strategies of trading networks, through the lens of money and uncertainty in marriage. I argue that uncertainty in spousal relations challenges the durability of such unions and hence the effectiveness of their role in trading activities. These uncertainties are shaped by intertwined factors, including especially the embedded relationship between commercial and social networks (for example, business partners, kinship, friendship) and spousal relations, the differing cultural values and practices of the partners to such unions, stereotypes, varying forms and degrees of trust and mistrust, and the dynamics of global markets and state policy. Uncertainties driven by these factors exacerbate mistrust in both marriages and trading relations; they also shape shifting orientations toward future life. Therefore, I argue that the role of marriage in trading activities should be neither simplified nor romanticized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-784
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Networks
Issue number4
Early online date12 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


  • Mistrust
  • Money
  • Social Networks
  • Trade
  • Transnational marriage
  • Trust
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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