Negotiating repect(ability). A transnational ethnography of Indonesian labor brokerage

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Title: Negotiating repect(ability). A transnational ethnography of Indonesian labor brokerage
Authors: Dinkelaker, Samia
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Thesis advisor: Prof.Dr. Helen Schwenken
Thesis referee: Prof.Dr. Thomas Stodulka
Abstract: This dissertation studies how the Indonesian state facilitates the migration of its female citizens for employment as domestic workers in Hong Kong. Applying the research perspective of ethnographic migration and border regime analysis, I scrutinize the multiplicity of state and non-state practices in one of Asia’s major ‘labor brokerage’ countries. Building on a 12-month multi-sited ethnography in Indonesia and Hong Kong, the study sheds light on the desired and lived subjectivities of the workers and asks how these negotiate visions of national development and official expectations brought forward to them. Informed by Foucauldian, postcolonial, and feminist perspectives, I carve out how a variety of actors are invested in making Indonesia’s migrant domestic workers more respectable. I introduce the concept of respectability and situate official notions of the ‘ideal migrant’ in aspirations to modernize Indonesian brokerage on the one hand and in discourses that circle around national dignity on the other. I discuss respectability in light of the tensions inherent in labor brokerage. I show that in their subjective practices, migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong challenge official strivings for respectability, thus engaging in everyday politics from below that have repercussions on the Indonesian society. The dissertation extends earlier studies that highlight the role of gendered morality in disciplining migrant labor force. In addition, it incorporates notions of progressiveness and class distinction and points out that negotiations over migrants’ subjectivities are indicative of fundamental contestations over the self-conceptions of labor brokerage states. By examining a sending state in the Global South, it provides a global view and productively connects research on transnational migration in Asia with ethnographic migration and border regime analyses, which have hitherto mainly focused on European and North American border regimes. The dissertation gives insights in how transnational labor migration shapes the modes in which questions of (national) belonging and visions of societal well-being are negotiated in post-authoritarian Indonesia.
Subject Keywords: labor brokerage state; migration regime; ethnographic regime analysis; Indonesia; migrant domestic workers; respectability; migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong
Issue Date: 17-Jan-2022
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB01 - E-Dissertationen

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