Confined Mobilities: Following Indonesian Migrant Workers on Their Way Home

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Abstract

This paper examines the return journeys of Indonesian migrant domestic workers to their home towns. When migrant workers return home, the Indonesian government sets them apart from other travellers in order to protect the migrants from extortion in the airport environment, and assist them during their return to their home villages. We investigate how this separate passage results in a mobility regime that produces differences between regular travellers and migrant worker travellers, and between male and female migrant workers. We also examine how the mobility regime results in particular forms of control over and safety of migrant workers' mobility. In doing so, we argue that the politics of mobility not only can be studied at the scale of global circuits, or at nodes such as the workplace, but also in relation to the actual journeys that migrant workers make.

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