513.2 Irregular migrant citizenship: Domestic workers negotiating social citizenship rights

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:03 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Kyoko SHINOZAKI , Ruhr University Bochum, Bohum, Germany
Migrant domestic workers contribute to societal well-being in the societies of both their residence and origin. However, being citizens of the emigration country participating in an unofficial channel of labor migration, their own needs for care and support have been difficult to meet in practice as in the case of Philippine domestic workers and nannies in Germany. Rather than heralding the incongruence between territorial presence and state membership as an indication of "postnational" membership, or rendering irregular migrants invisible as citizens, I wish to locate their paradoxical positions in migrant citizenship. More specifically, given  the embeddedness of migrants in multiple states and locations, I argue that the positions of Filipina and Filipino domestics are mediated by their 'irregular migrant citizenship'.  Irregular migrant citizenship refers to the situation of those migrants who are citizens of a country in which they do not live, i.e. the Philippines, and live as irregular migrants in a country of which they are not citizens, i.e. Germany. I highlight two aspects: firstly, I pay attention to the irregularity of their migration status which has been indirectly shaped by the Philippine state’s aggressive deployment policy. Secondly, I look at migrants’ experiences in the society of residence, thereby aiming to connect the emigration and immigration contexts. I examine the ways in which Philippine migrant domestics’ limited access to social provisions in Germany are connected to their irregular migration status. However, despite the state curtailment of migrants’ access to social rights, they build alternative forms of care for themselves and their children at both local and transnational scales: the migrants realize some elements of their social citizenship rights through activating their ethnic networks as well as increasingly, non-ethnic, local activism consisting of politically engaged social workers and health professionals and municipal offices.