Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153718
Title: BROKERING MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS IN SINGAPORE: MAID AGENTS AND THE PUZZLE OF MORAL CREDIBILITY
Authors: KELLYNN WEE JIAYING
ORCID iD:   orcid.org/0000-0002-6939-3784
Keywords: migration industry, migrant domestic workers, brokers, moral credibility, debt and credit
Issue Date: 16-Jan-2019
Citation: KELLYNN WEE JIAYING (2019-01-16). BROKERING MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS IN SINGAPORE: MAID AGENTS AND THE PUZZLE OF MORAL CREDIBILITY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: I argue that the brokers who facilitate the recruitment of migrant domestic workers to Singapore are driven to act by an attempt to guarantee domestic workers’ moral credibility. Based on 29 months of ethnographic research, I draw together anthropological theorising on brokerage and scholarship on the migration industry to unravel maid agents’ processes of meaning-making. I show how migration brokers equate the successful performance of domestic labour to the possession of an irreproachable moral interiority. However, brokers complicate this equivalence by acknowledging that domestic workers also possess a fundamental and unpredictable capacity to act. Brokers’ struggles over the puzzle of migrants’ moral credibility leads not only to practices of surveillance but also to questions surrounding domestic workers’ moral creditworthiness as debtors. This thesis moves beyond the assumption that brokers are rational, profit-driven individuals who exploit migrants for gain. It suggests instead any intervention aimed at ameliorating the precarity of domestic work needs to take seriously the fact that brokers are social actors who operate within broader lattices of power and imaginaries of race, gender, and nationality.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153718
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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