Facebook Activism By Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:40 AM
Room: Booth 41
Oral Presentation
Kayoko UENO , Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan
Studies of foreign domestic workers are now numerous in the social science literature, with much attention paid to left behind families.  Since new research is required to contemplate the latest change, this paper uses authentic accounts related to the current explosive growth of social networking by live-in domestic workers in Southest Asia.  Evidence was gathered through 54,000 posts on a Facebook group, most from Filipina domestic workers in Singapore.  Interviews were held with Facebook group members, including a founder of the NGO responsible for starting the social network group.  Findings confirm that internet technology has become integral in the lives of foreign domestic workers, enhancing their social interactions and mobilizing their self-expression.  There is evidence that Facebook reduces psychological and physical costs for live-in workers, making it relatively easy for them to participate in activist social networking.  Evidence suggests that, in addition to providing entertainment for foreign workers, Facebook motivates an increasing number of distantly scattered individual workers to engage in social activism.