'Knowing One’s Place': Gender, Mobility and Shifting Subjectivity in Eastern Indonesia.

Citation:

Williams, Catharina Purwani. 2005. “‘Knowing One’s Place’: Gender, Mobility and Shifting Subjectivity in Eastern Indonesia.” Global Networks 5 (4): 401–17.

Author: Catharina Purwani Williams

Abstract:

In this article I analyse the gendered space of transnational mobility by problematizing migrant subjectivity in everyday practices. In line with feminist perspectives I highlight the significance of the micro-scale experience of female migrants from Eastern Indonesia in acquiring mobility as a struggle for new subjectivity. I frame this migration as a production of the subjective space of power. Based on in-depth interviews with returned migrants, I present reflexive accounts of two migrants on contract domestic work abroad to illuminate the changing contours of the relationships between gender, mobility and shifting subjectivity. Households take into account the cultural meanings of space in everyday life including local relations in the decisions on mobility. Strategies of ‘knowing one's place’ reflect women's agency in negotiating alternative roles and positions within the intra-household dynamics and in the workplace. Women's personal accounts have the potential to illuminate spatial processes of migration as a contested space for the repositioning of self in networks of family, kin, local and global relations.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Women Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2005

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