Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143699
Title: ‘THIS COUNTRY, LAW VERY STRONG’: NEGOTIATING SECURITISATION IN THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF BANGLADESHI MIGRANT WORKERS IN SINGAPORE
Authors: LOONG XIU FEN SHONA
Keywords: Bangladeshi migrant workers, biopower, everyday life, Little India, securitisation, Singapore
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: LOONG XIU FEN SHONA (2015). ‘THIS COUNTRY, LAW VERY STRONG’: NEGOTIATING SECURITISATION IN THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF BANGLADESHI MIGRANT WORKERS IN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: State narratives about Singapore's recent 'Little India Riot' have often framed South Asian migrant workers as threats to national security to legitimise heightened state interventions into the everyday lives of migrants in the area. In contrast, migrants’ everyday experiences of security—even before the riot—have often been overlooked. This thesis aims to redress this gap by using static and walking interviews to elicit Bangladeshi migrants' accounts of their encounters with state power in Little India. In doing so, it attempts to show that the securitisation of migration is neither enacted solely at the state's borders, nor according to a stark binary of inclusion/exclusion. Migrants come face-to-face with state power within Little India through a constellation of actors and materialities, including the state police and video surveillance technologies. By utilizing Foucauldian biopower, I argue that these encounters prompt Bangladeshi migrants to see themselves as a differentially excluded population that is integral to Singapore's economic growth, yet not deserving of the rights of citizens. At the same time, state power is also exercised through individual bodies, as migrants strive to police their own bodily comportment within Little India. The securitisation of migration thus emerges as an everyday practice that is localized within a heterogeneity of sites within Little India, rather than mapped to state borders alone. Yet, as de Certeau has argued, power is never absolute and can be struggled over and contested in the mundane routines of everyday life. As such, I contend that migrants often rework encounters with the state to perform moralized identities and further their migration goals. Through a repertoire of spatial practices and spatial stories, migrants work with(in) the strictures of Singapore's migration regime to inscribe their presence within state territory as ambiguously inside but Othered, thereby contesting state-led scripts that construct migrants as security threats.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/143699
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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