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Multinational Maids
Stepwise Migration in a Global Labor Market

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  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316641378

$ 36.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Multinational Maids offers an in-depth investigation into the international migrations of Filipino and Indonesian migrant domestic workers. The author taps on her rigorous study of more than 1,200 subjects' migration trajectories to reveal how these migrants work in a series of overseas countries to improve their lives and, in some cases, seek permanent residence in another country. Challenging the portrayal of Asian migrant domestic workers as victims of globalization, Multinational Maids reveals migrants' agency and strategic thinking under conditions of constraint. At the market level, the establishment of guestworker programmes for migrant domestic workers in multiple countries has created a global labor market. A transnational diaspora shapes migrants' evolving destination imaginaries, while manpower recruitment and placement agencies create transnational mobility structures. In addition, differing destination hierarchies and degrees of access to resources lead to the adoption of divergent stepwise trajectories. Written in an accessible manner, Multinational Maids appeals to migration scholars, policymakers, activists and students.

    • Offers an accessible and concise narrative on the stepwise migration journeys of Filipino and Indonesian migrants
    • Proposes a new theoretical framework of stepwise migration through the author's rigorous study of the migration trajectories of more than 1,200 migrant domestic workers
    • Engages a wide range of audiences from policymakers to students and those who are interested in Filipino and Indonesian labor migrations
    • Sheds light on this lesser explored field of international migration studies, never before studied in such detail
    Read more


    • Winner, 2018 Thomas and Zaniecki Best Book Award, International Migration Section. American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Multinational Maids wonderfully weaves together the lived experience of domestic workers, the dynamics of global labour markets, and new frontiers in migration theory.' Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo

    ‘Anju Mary Paul offers a highly accessible and insightful study of global migration that is ambitious in scale and rich in detail. Drawing from large-scale surveys and interviews, Multinational Maids draws linkages between global locations ranging from Singapore to Saudi, and illuminates the processes, patterns, ambitions, imaginaries and accidents of fate, that lead some migrant workers to seek ever-better migratory destinations.' Nicole Constable, University of Pittsburgh

    '… domestic workers make decisions, gather resources, and deal with constraints to access the best possible destinations in the global labor market. Based on multi-sited and multi-method approaches comparing Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers, the findings show how, following their first migration, the search for their dream destination can take migrant domestic workers to more than one destination country over several migration attempts. The search is fraught with uncertainties and difficulties, but as this impressive work concludes, 'What this book demonstrates is the drive and ingenuity of temporary labor migrants long before they have reached their end-destination'.' Marla Asis, Scalabrini Migration Center, Philippines

    'This book is an important examination of contemporary international migration, as it presents a necessary and timely challenge to the prevailing paradigms of permanent settlement and binational approach to transnationalism. … this is an important book that not only challenges dominant paradigms in migration studies but, more importantly, invites further theorizations of the under-studied phenomenon of multinational migration.' Maria Cecilia Hwang, Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316641378
    • length: 416 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. The Context:
    2. Key concepts in stepwise international labor migration
    3. Origin stories
    4. Global but uneven: the market for migrant domestic workers
    Part II. The Actors:
    5. Stepwise journeys, compared and contrasted
    6. The world according to migrant domestic workers
    7. Inside the stepwise migrant's suitcase
    8. The agents of stepwise migration
    Part III. The Aftermath:
    9. The end of the road
    10. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Anju Mary Paul, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
    Anju Mary Paul is Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. She is an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from and within Asia, and is especially interested in how gender, labour, race and ethnicity, as well as class, intersect at the moment of migration and the post-migration experience. Her research spans the migrations of low-wage Asian migrant domestic workers and high-skilled Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists. She has published sole-authored articles in the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Migration Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.


    • Winner, 2018 Thomas and Zaniecki Best Book Award, International Migration Section. American Sociological Association
    • Winner, 2018 Max Weber Award for Distinguished Scholarship, Organizations, Occupations and Work Section, American Sociological Association
    • Honorable Mention, 2020 Distinguished Scholarly Book Award 2019, American Sociological Association

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