Precarious cosmopolitanism: Work migration and cultural belonging in a globalized Asia

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The strong presence of migrant workers and the emergence of transnational mixed families from the region in Singapore and other Asian capital cities is one of the undercurrents of inter-Asia globalization. The term ‘inter-Asian globalization’ here refers to various forms and daily realities of transnational exchanges within the region, as Southeast Asian workers migrate following the flow of capital, meet other workers in the region, make families, and find and make their home. Contrasting the perspectives of middle-class mixed Filipino-Indonesian families of professionals residing in Singapore and returning female migrant domestic workers, this article reflects on the meaning of home, citizenship and sense of belonging in a time of heightened mobility. The article contends that, while Asian globalization creates the context for making ‘in-transit’ hybrid cultural homes, the migrant’s cosmopolitan experience still hinges precariously on their status, gender and class in the hierarchy created by capital, and the interests and politics of sending and host countries concerning citizenship, economic development and space-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Filipino-Indonesian mixed families
  • Indonesian female domestic workers
  • in-transit homes
  • inter-Asia globalization
  • precarious cosmopolitanism
  • sense of belonging
  • work migration


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