Exceptional States examines new configurations of marriage, immigration, and sovereignty emerging in an increasingly mobile Asia where Cold War legacies continue to shape contemporary political struggles over sovereignty and citizenship. Focused on marital immigration from China to Taiwan, the book documents the struggles of these women and men as they seek acceptance and recognition in their new home. Through tracing parallels between the predicaments of Chinese marital immigrants and the uncertain future of the Taiwan nation-state, the book shows how intimate attachments and emotional investments infuse the governmental practices of Taiwanese bureaucrats charged with regulating immigration and producing citizenship and sovereignty. Its attention to a group of immigrants whose exceptional status has become necessary to Taiwan’s national integrity exposes the social, political, and subjective consequences of life on the margins of citizenship and sovereignty.
Sara L. Friedman is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Indiana University. She is the coeditor of Wives, Husbands, and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China and the author of Intimate Politics: Marriage, the Market, and State Power in Southeastern China.
"This is an innovative, exquisitely researched, and beautifully crafted ethnography of the bureaucratic, legal, and everyday experiences of mainland Chinese marriage migrants. Friedman has advanced the study of marriage migration and demonstrated its vast political significance. After reading this book, no one can ever think that marriage is just a private, domestic matter."—Nicole Constable, author of Born Out of Place: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor
"Exceptional States offers a fresh approach to marriage migration, citizenship, and sovereignty in East Asia. Sara Friedman's study is a fascinating ethnography for students and scholars interested in transnationalism, marriage and family, gender, and political science."—Jennifer Cole, author of Sex and Salvation: Imagining the Future in Madagascar