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Gendered disciplinary apparatuses and carceral domesticities in Singapore’s labour-migration regime

Antona, Laura ORCID: 0000-0002-1283-2838 (2023) Gendered disciplinary apparatuses and carceral domesticities in Singapore’s labour-migration regime. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 41 (6). 940 - 959. ISSN 0263-7758

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Identification Number: 10.1177/02637758231216394


It is widely acknowledged that Singapore’s labour-migration regime is unequal and bifurcated, with migrants that are categorised as foreign professionals afforded many more rights than those categorised as migrant workers. While migrant construction, process, and shipyard workers are expected to reside in dormitories or other shared accommodation, migrant domestic workers are mandated to live in their employers’ homes, where their gendered bodies are confined and disciplined. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, in this article I demonstrate that Singapore’s labour-migration regime is underpinned with a carceral logic that imposes bodily controls on domestic workers through policy, legal regulations, and practices which, I argue, constitute gendered disciplinary apparatuses. Moreover, by examining migrant domestic workers’ everyday experiences, I suggest that different dwelling spaces – namely, employers’ homes and shelters – can be conceptualised as carceral domesticities. Utilised by the state as carceral infrastructure, I show the ways in which these dwelling spaces become geographies of detainment and punishment, in/through which different actors become involved in disciplining intimacy, morality, and maintaining socio-racial order in the nation. Simultaneously, the carceral nature of the labour-migration regime produces forms of domesticity which relies on the containment of migrant workers.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2023 11:12
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 22:57

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