In the house, around the house : an ethnography of Hadar Hadrami migration to Kuwait
The study of Hadrami migration has largely been focused on the experiences of prominent Hadrami figures. This scholarship has generally not documented the lives of more modest migrants. By contrast, this thesis studies the migration of Hadar Hadramis to Kuwait, thus broadening our perspective on the varieties in patterns, practices, and histories in Hadrami migration. In the case of Kuwait, we can observe a paradox in the migration, which continues in spite of acute changes in the sociohistorical and economic dynamics that led to Hadar Hadramis' original movement to Kuwait. Hadar Hadramis re-immigrate persistently to Kuwait despite the following factors. First, Hadar Hadramis are aware that their close association with Kuwaiti affluent houses ties them to Kuwaitis through unequal social and moral exchanges. Second, Hadar Hadramis remain economically unsuccessful and politically unprivileged in comparison with other Hadrami migrants elsewhere and Arab immigrants in Kuwait. Lastly, the Kuwaiti state has experienced political disasters that have had cruel effects on Hadar Hadramis in particular. While Hadar Hadramis were initially absorbed in the domestic sphere of Kuwaiti houses, today the majority no longer actually work as family servants. Nevertheless, the thesis argues that the domestic character of the work of migrants is central to understanding the Hadar Hadrami migratory context in Kuwait. It is suggested that the Hadar Hadrami experience in Kuwait developed its own propelling force-a 'culture of migration'-which endures in a complex of social value, economic preference, personal and family connections to Kuwaitis, and travel practices. A prominent feature of this culture of migration is dependency as a value and as a practice, which tends to encourage total dependence on Kuwait as a source of income, to emphasise the importance of goods and consumption rather than wealth accumulation and investment, and to personalise every aspect of the migration process.