Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Global and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor's Name

Vrushali Patil

First Advisor's Committee Title

Associate Professor

Keywords

Romance Tourism, Mail Order Bride, International Dating

Date of Defense

6-24-2014

Abstract

Online international introduction sites that offer romance tours to American men in search of a foreign bride are an important and rapidly growing component of the internet dating industry; the number of these agencies in the U.S. tripled from two hundred to six hundred in the past 10 years. Previous scholars have examined the so-called ‘mail order bride’ industry in order to demonstrate that the women involved are agents and not victims. Many scholars have also highlighted the importance of race in shaping American men’s desires in one particular region or country. My dissertation provides an important addition to the literature surrounding romance tourism by including participants from all three major regions associated with romance tourism: Eastern Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. I collected the data for the dissertation by becoming a participant observer of a romance tour in Ukraine, Colombia, and the Philippines. I argue that romance tourism is an important example of the global intimate, and the ways in which globalized processes are created and sustained through everyday intimate emotions and interactions. By examining the ways in which the emotions of desire, disgust, and anxiety influence individual romance tour participant’s constructions of racialized hierarchies, the links between individual emotions and global systems are revealed. The concept of the global intimate challenges the hierarchy of scale that places the body, the home, and the intimate on a much lower level than the scale of the global or the national, and at the same time challenges the binary that divides the individual from the global. Through highlighting the different emotional negotiations that are constantly occurring in the romance tour industry, I highlight the important ways in which individual emotions and affects influence global processes on a large scale and vice versa.

Identifier

FI14071123

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