Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/150330
Title: AGENTS AS INFRASTRUCTURE: CIRCULATING DEBT AND CHANNELLING INDONESIAN DOMESTIC WORKERS IN SINGAPORE
Authors: GOH JIA MIN CHARMIAN
ORCID iD:   orcid.org/0000-0002-6779-6870
Keywords: migration infrastructure, debt-financed migration, migrant domestic workers, migration brokerage, mediation, labour recruitment
Issue Date: 17-Aug-2018
Citation: GOH JIA MIN CHARMIAN (2018-08-17). AGENTS AS INFRASTRUCTURE: CIRCULATING DEBT AND CHANNELLING INDONESIAN DOMESTIC WORKERS IN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In ‘fly now, pay later’ systems across Southeast Asia, prospective migrant domestic workers accrue—over the course of their migration from Indonesia to Singapore—a snowballing debt they repay through salary deductions. To avoid the pitfalls of studying debt-financed migration through the lenses of ‘debt bondage’, ‘trafficking’, ‘smuggling’, and ‘modern slavery’, I trace the social life of migrant debt and scrutinise the operations of placement agents in Singapore as processes of systems-in-the-making. Based on in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in Singapore (n=48) and Indonesia (n=13) from 2015 to 2017, I theorise placement agents as debt-financed migration infrastructure. Agents in the regular pipeline struggle over debt transparency, assemble cross-border infrastructure, and resolve debt repayment. In response, ‘transfer agents’ graft a distinct system-in-the-making onto the regular pipeline to recruit migrant women already in Singapore. The interplay of infrastructural logics between the regular pipeline and grafted infrastructure produces anxieties, complications, and transformative possibilities.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/150330
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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