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The (im)mobilization of Indonesian Migrants – an ethnographic regime analysis

The dissertation project investigates the Indonesian temporary labor migration program from an ethnographic perspective.

Samia Dinkelaker

It follows a migration route from Indonesia to Hongkong and back, in order to take into account the everyday practices of the institutions involved in the migration process from an ethnographic perspective. These institutionen recruit and mobilize Indonesian care workers for the global labor market, because Indonesia is one of those migrant sending states, which actively promote and implement the temporary emigration of migrant workers. I will focus on how migrant workers’ subjectivities are negotiated, that means my research interest lies in thenegotations of how migrants think, feel and how they perceive themselves and the world. It is assumed that the institutions involved in the Indonesian migration program play a major role when migrants adapt to the demands oft he global labor market and national development strategies. In the context of the highly gendered characteristics of care work and the global division of labor gender as well as ethnification/rassialization are to be considered as structuring these negotiation processes. During data collection and during data analysis the approaches „emotional reflexivity“ and „relational observation“ will be incorporated in the research process. These approaches criticize hegemonic images of „rational“ scientists in the field who are in full control of their emotions. In contrast these approaches integrate a reflection on the relations in the field in the research process. That means to take into account that the field is constituted in a relational process between researcher, subjects and environment. The field of this dissertation project is constiuted through the relations between the researcher, the agents of the respective institutions and the migrants. It is embedded in global power relations, which are also relevant in the context of Indonesian labor migration. That becomes clear for instance whe the white European researcher is adressed as potential employer or as international human rights observer. Reflecting this relation will be made productive for the cognitive process by taking into account emotions and affects in the field as well as there interpersonal and social characteristics.

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