Session Abstract: Over the past two decades, labor migration has become a critical ingredient in Southeast Asia’s economic development story with a total of 20.2 million labor emigrants, 6.9 million of whom traveled within the region (ILO 2017). Foregrounding Southeast Asia’s unique position on the global stage, this panel holistically examines the governance of labor migration by exploring the various stages of labor movement from pre-departure, to emigration, immigration, and finally return. Papers in this panel theorizes the state and governmentality in the era of globalization by empirically analyzing different sites of governance, including the border, recruitment agencies, spaces of quarantine, and at the nation’s margins. By highlighting the multifaceted expressions of migration governance, this panel challenges the exclusion/inclusion binary that dominates the literature in migration studies. Andy Scott Chang explores the multiplicity of Indonesia’s transborder labor regimes within the context of the country’s ambition to supplant the Philippines as a labor-sending powerhouse; Maria Hwang draws from Bryan Turner’s (2007) conceptualization of “immobility regime” in nesting the Philippine state’s protectionist stance in the era of Covid-19 in the state’s broader labor export management; Oanh K. Nguyen’s paper on Malaysia’s migration regime reconsiders foreign labor dependency not just as an economic outcome but as a socio-cultural lens to study migrant-state relations; and finally, Yasmin Y. Ortiga and Karen Anne S. Liao show that the Philippine state’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic reflects a broader attempt to project an image of itself as a protective labor-sending state to the global civil society.
Paper Presenter: Yasmin Ortiga – Singapore Management University
Co-author: Karen Anne S. Liao – National University of Singapore
Paper Presenter: Oanh K. Nguyen – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Paper Presenter: Maria Cecilia Hwang – McGill University
Paper Presenter: Andy S. Chang – Singapore Management University