Proceedings of the International Conference on Culture and Language in Southeast Asia (ICCLAS 2017)

Emerging Identities of Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore

Lydia Kanelli Kyvelou Kokkaliari, Sri Kusumo, Mr. Habsari, Mr. Mugijatna
Corresponding Author
Lydia Kanelli Kyvelou Kokkaliari
Available Online December 2017.
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foreign domestic worker; migration-specific cultural capital; identity; leisure; Singapore
In post-industrial societies, the right to work has institutionally set time off work. Leisure, thus, affects the process and the span of negotiations and contestations of migrant's identities, producing and transforming their cultural capital. This paper explores the emerging identities of foreign domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines in Singapore. It shows how their transmigrants' identities are constructed, transformed and negotiated in the host community. The recently acquired right of a rest day for FDW in Singapore allows to investigate a new set of integration narratives and identity formations which prevail in correlation to the use of their cultural capital viewed through their choices of leisure. At the moment, more than 80% of FDW residing in Singapore come from the two countries, both categorized among the biggest sending nations of the region. The article contextualizing their migration- specific cultural capital aims to contribute to the discussion of intra-migrant differentiations of gender, ethnicity and class, which produces modes of validation other than national capital. Research employs a case-study with embedded units, collecting data through direct observation and in-depth interviews at Lucky Plaza, meeting hub of Indonesians and Philippines in Singapore. A new identity has emerged as a consequence of their quotidian lived realities. Their trajectory from home to receiving locations and the accessibility of public spaces has enabled them to reconstruct their identities of being here and elsewhere simultaneously. Rest day weekly has enabled FDW to become themselves active subjects who potently decide on their distribution of their personal time.
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Cite this article

AU  - Lydia Kanelli Kyvelou Kokkaliari
AU  - Sri Kusumo
AU  - Mr. Habsari
AU  - Mr. Mugijatna
PY  - 2017/12
DA  - 2017/12
TI  - Emerging Identities of Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore
BT  - International Conference on Culture and Language in Southeast Asia (ICCLAS 2017)
PB  - Atlantis Press
UR  -
DO  -
ID  - KanelliKyvelouKokkaliari2017/12
ER  -