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Journal Article

A ‘Minority’ on the move: boundary work among Filipina Muslim migrant domestic workers in the Middle East


Debonneville,  Julien
Guests and External Members, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Debonneville, J. (2019). A ‘Minority’ on the move: boundary work among Filipina Muslim migrant domestic workers in the Middle East. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 20(4), 344-361. doi:10.1080/14442213.2019.1632923.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-EB35-7
This article analyses the migration of a religious ‘minority’ that is largely invisible within migration studies, namely Muslim Filipina domestic workers. More specifically, this research shows that the category of ‘minority’ is not fixed and is always negotiated through transnational spaces and boundary work. In doing so, the article highlights how religious belonging, the status of minority and migration intersect and are negotiated during the period prior to these women leaving their country, during their time in the country of destination, and when they return to the Philippines. How boundary work affects the religious belonging of this Muslim ‘minority’ is underlined by presenting the Middle East as an opportunity to perform norms of ‘Muslimness’. The performance of these norms as an opportunity for these women to challenge the status of being a ‘minority’ in the Philippines is also examined. Finally, this article shows how these Muslim ‘minorities’ gain access to a certain symbolic capital by becoming hajji and balikbayan (returnees) when they return home.