Drawing from ethnographic research conducted in Hong Kong in 2015 and 2016, this talk explores the meaning of new forms of migratory surveillance and their impact on the lives of Southeast Asian migrant workers. Professor Constable asks how particular forms of surveillance—such as the minutia of the new electronic passport system introduced by the Indonesian Consulate in Hong Kong in 2015—are linked to the state’s commitment to modernize, rationalize, and create what James Scott calls “legibility” of its citizens, on the one hand. Yet they also reveal an array of fundamental social tensions, cultural misunderstandings, and the precarity, as well as the profound and strategic agency, of migrant workers, on the other hand.
Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
In conjunction with:
Center for Global Studies
College of Law
Department of Anthropology
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Department of Geography
Department of History
Department of Sociology
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
School of Labor and Employment Relations
School of Social Work
Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program.