Living in Multiple Boundaries: Migrant Workers in the Arab Gulf
February 3, 2022
Talk by Naomi Hosoda
The Arab Gulf region, composed of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have attracted the attention of international labor migration studies, as all these countries have among the highest ratio of migrant workers to local workers in the world. Gulf labor migration policies are now characterized by exclusionary citizenship laws and the kafala (sponsorship) system, which governs migrant employment and lives. Against this backdrop, I will discuss how nationals and migrants construct new relationships in the segregated socioeconomic spaces of the region. Instead of assuming segregation is disadvantageous for migrant workers, I emphasize multiple aspects and present various voices. In this way, I try to unfold the region’s segregated socioeconomic space, as well as its new forms of networking and connectedness, in order to understand how the various peoples coexist: a situation that often entails conflict and discrepancies between expectations and reality.
Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies
Comparative Muslim Societies Program