Migrant Workers in Asia: Distant Divides, Intimate Connections, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Migrant Workers in Asia

Distant Divides, Intimate Connections, 1st Edition

By Nicole Constable


226 pages

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This book provides rich and provocative comparative studies of South and Southeast Asian domestic workers who migrate to other parts of Asia. These studies range from Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, to Yemen, Israel, Jordan, and the UAE. Conceptually and methodologically, this book challenges us to move beyond established regional divides and proposes new ways of mapping inter-Asian connections. The authors view migrant workers within a wider spatial context of intersecting groups and trajectories through time. Keenly attentive to the importance of migrants of diverse nationalities who have labored in multiple regions, this book examines intimate connections and distant divides in the social lives and politics of migrant workers across time and space.

Collectively, the authors propose new themes, new comparative frameworks, and new methodologies for considering vastly different degrees of social support structures and political activism, and the varied meanings of citizenship and state responsibility in sending and receiving countries. They highlight the importance of formal institutions that shape and promote migratory labor, advocacy for workers, or curtail workers rights, as well as the social identities and cultural practices and beliefs that may be linked to new inter-ethnic social and political affiliations that traverse and also transform inter-Asian spaces and pathways to mobility.

This book was published as a special issue of Critical Asian Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Nicole Constable 2. On Sentimental Orientalists, Christian Zionists, and Working Class Cosmopolitans: Filipina Domestic Workers’ Journeys to Israel and Beyond Claudia Liebelt 3. High in the Hierarchy, Rich in Diversity: Asian Domestic Workers, Their Networks, and Employers’ Preferences in Yemen Marina de Regt 4. Of Maids and Madams: Sri Lankan Domestic Workers and Their Employers in Jordan Elizabeth Frantz 5. Advocating for Sri Lankan Migrant Workers: Obstacles and Challenges Michele R. Gamburd 6. Transcending the Border: Transnational Imperatives in Singapore’s Migrant Worker Rights Movement Lenore Lyons 7. The Making of a Transnational Grassroots Migrant Movement: A Case Study of Hong Kong’s Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body Hsiao-Chuan Hsia 8. Migrant Workers and the Many States of Protest in Hong Kong Nicole Constable 9. Undocumented Indonesian Workers in Macau: The Human Outcome of Colluding Interests Amy Sim and Vivienne Wee

About the Author

Nicole Constable is Professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and Mail Order Marriages (University of California Press, 2003), and the editor of Cross-Border Marriages: Gender and Mobility in Transnational Asia (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Home-Based Businesses
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Minority Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies