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Born Out of PlaceMigrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor$
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Nicole Constable

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282018

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

A Very Tiny Problem

A Very Tiny Problem

(p.1) 1 A Very Tiny Problem
Born Out of Place

Nicole Constable

University of California Press

The stories and experiences of migrant mothers and their Hong Kong–born babies are at the heart of this book. They are set against the backdrop of global capitalism and transnational mobility. The Asian “world city” of Hong Kong provides a meeting ground for young Indonesian and Filipina domestic workers; South Asian and African traders, refugees, and asylum seekers; Western tourists and businessmen and local Chinese residents. Their personal stories provide insight into global problems of mobility, family, and citizenship, and point to the consequences, creative responses, and tragedies of labor and migration policies. This chapter introduces the idea that migrant workers are never only workers, regardless of the policies and laws that restrict them and narrowly define them as such. The chapter introduces the key concepts of bare life, citizenship, precarious labor, and humanitarian reason, and it proposes that laws and policies relating to migrant labor and non-citizenship often produce the very problems of “illegality” that they seek to avoid.

Keywords:   citizenship, bare life, precarious labor, good life, humanitarian reason, domestic workers, migrant labor, babies, migrant mothers

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