Migrant Encounters: Intimate Labor, the State, and Mobility Across Asia

Migrant Encounters: Intimate Labor, the State, and Mobility Across Asia
Sara Friedman, Pardis Mahdavi
Publication Date
University of Pennsylvania Press

Migrant Encounters examines what happens when migrants across Asia encounter both the restrictions and opportunities presented by state actors and policies, some that leave deep marks on migrants' own life trajectories and others that produce fragmentary, uneven traces. With a focus on those who migrate to perform intimate labor—domestic, care, and sex work—or whose own intimate and familial lives are redefined through migration, marriage, and sometimes parenthood, this volume argues that such encounters transform both migrants and the states between which they move.

Written by an international group of anthropologists, sociologists, and geographers, these essays offer richly detailed and insightful accounts of the intimate consequences of migration and the transformative effects of migrant-state encounters across Asia. Addressing a range of topics from the fate of children born to unmarried migrant mothers to the everyday negotiations of cross-border couples and migrant domestic workers, the contributors situate themselves at various points along the extensive migration routes that extend from northeast Asia all the way to the Gulf region. The authors draw on ethnographic research and policy analysis to illustrate the texture of migrants' interactions with state actors and forces. From a range of perspectives, they explore what these encounters teach us about migrant agency and the workings of state power in a region now rife with diverse forms of cross-border mobility.