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Culture in the Borderlands: "Stories" of Southeast Asian Domestic Workers in Taiwan

Sheu, Huey-jen

German Title: Arbeitsmigrantinnen aus Südostasien in Taiwan

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Migration and mobility is not a new phenomenon in human society. Historically, people have moved from one place to another either for reasons of survival or due to force in terms of slavery. Compared to the past centuries, migration in recent years has increased in dimension for both the sending and the receiving communities. The increase in economic disparities, the internationalization of the market and increasing numbers of individuals seeking employment outside their own countries, and demographic developments all promote this trend. In Taiwan, migrant women are the primary source of paid domestic labor. Taiwan is becoming a land of dreams and also a land of tears for these migrant women. I interviewed and spent time with dozens of Southeast Asian domestics working in and around Taipei as well as some of their Taiwanese employers. On the basis of these data I collected, I Interweave my analysis with the women's individual stories, and also demonstrate how economic factors, immigration policies, the intermediaries, ethnicity, and gender intersect in the relationship between migrant women and the Taiwanese people.

Translation of abstract (German)

Mobilität war schon immer ein grundlegendes Element von Kultur und Gesellschaft. Allerdings übertrifft die Quantität und die Geschwindigkeit der Bewegung heutzutage deutlich die zuvor bekannten Ausmaße. Meine Arbeit behandelt diese spezielle Mobilitätsform – nämlich die internationale Arbeitsmigration- indem sowohl die einzelnen Akteure als auch die von ihnen gebildeten Gruppen dargestellt werden. Konkret wird die Dialektik von Migrantinnen, Einheimischen und das Migrationssystem unter verschiedenen Aspekten untersucht. Das Ergebnis zeigt, dass Migranten nicht nur zwischen zwei geographischen Orten wandern, sondern auch zwischen verschiedenen Kulturen. Als Wanderer zwischen unterschiedlichen Kulturen befinden sich die Migranten nicht in einem entwurzelten Zustand, sondern im Zentrum ihres Kulturgeschehens.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Köpping, Dr. Klaus-Peter,
Date of thesis defense: 13 February 2008
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2008 15:42
Date: 2008
Faculties / Institutes: The Faculty of Behavioural and Cultural Studies > Institute of Ethnology
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arbeitsmigration , Geschlechtsidentität , Taiwan , Südostasienwomen migrant worker , labor migration , gender identity , Taiwan , Southeast Asia
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