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Title: Exporting subservience : Sri Lankan women's migration for domestic work in Jordan
Author: Frantz, Elizabeth
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is an anthropological study of Sri Lankan 'guest' workers in the Middle East, focusing on the experiences of women who migrate to Jordan for employment in domestic service. More than 1 00,000 women depart Sri Lanka for such work each year, giving Sri Lanka one of the highest rates of female migration in the world. A large body of literature exists concerning the growth of Asian migration to Arab countries, yet relatively little has been written about migrants' experiences in host countries. Based on dual-sited fieldwork conducted over the course of 24 months, the thesis provides an ethnographic contribution both at the point of origin and re-entry (i.e. Sri Lanka) and at the destination point (i.e. Jordan). It draws on research in a village in western Sri Lanka to examine the factors compelling women to migrate for these jobs and how they evaluate the consequences of doing so for themselves and their families. The second part of the thesis addresses migrants' experiences and working conditions during their sojourns. The analysis aims to move beyond typically one-sided accounts of domestic work by considering the perspectives of both workers and employers and probing the complex relations between them. In doing so, it considers the kafa/a (sponsorship) system by which guest workers are effectively bonded to their employers for the terms of their service. According to this system, migrants are dependent on local sponsors for entry visas and work permits, cannot change employers or quit without the sponsor's permission and can be sent back to their own countries at any time. The research focuses on the example of Sri Lankan migrants to illuminate workers' experiences of the kafa/a system and analyse the links between state policies, guest worker programmes and contemporary forms of unfree labour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available