Thai Women in Sweden: Victims or Participants?

  • Natasha A. Webster Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm
  • Karen Haandrikman Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden & Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University
Keywords: gender, power, mixed methods, agency, migration


Migration from Thailand to Sweden is a rapidly growing phenomenon with a threefold increase over the last ten years, with the majority of migrants being female marriage migrants. In Nordic media and popular culture, stereotyping of Thai-Swedish couples is commonplace, focusing on unequal power relations, sex tourism and other social problems which often position Thai women “as both materialist rural women and ignorant victims” (Sunanta, 2013, p. 193). Our paper positions and explores the status of this unique group of migrants through a power and agency lens and by adopting a multimethods approach. Using register data, we give a detailed picture of the migration and sociodemographic features of Thais in Sweden, while in-depth interviews with Thai women provide nuanced understandings of Thai-Sweden migration. We find a complex narrative of migration, where Thai women are active agents in their migration process but still face many inequalities in Sweden. A diversified picture of these women is revealed suggesting that power and agency are situated spatially and temporally.


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How to Cite
Webster, N. A., & Haandrikman, K. (2016). Thai Women in Sweden: Victims or Participants?. Social Science Asia, 2(1), 13-29. Retrieved from
Research Article