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Journal Article

Ageing bodies, precarious futures: The (im)mobilities of ‘temporary’ migrant domestic workers over time


Amrith,  Megha       
Research Group Ageing in a Time of Mobility, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Amrith, M. (2021). Ageing bodies, precarious futures: The (im)mobilities of ‘temporary’ migrant domestic workers over time. Mobilities, 16(2), 249-261. doi:10.1080/17450101.2021.1885834.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-0F89-F
In both historical and contemporary studies of contract mobile labour, little attention has been granted to ageing migrant bodies from a life-course perspective. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with older migrant domestic workers in Singapore, this article investigates how, in the context of restrictive regimes of mobility shaping temporary labour migration, age crucially factors into the (im)mobility of migrant domestic workers. Growing older and approaching retirement marks a point of perceived bodily immobility as states and employers deem migrants’ ageing bodies as too frail and no longer productive, thus indu-cing mandatory returns to their countries of origin. The paper traces how the ageing bodies of ‘temporary’ migrants are discursively constructed by neoliberal regimes of mobile labour; the implications on migrants’ present and future mobilities; and how migrants contest such characterisations of their bodies and attempts at controlling their mobilities at different scales. In considering the later-life implications of long years of work abroad in precarious and low-wage conditions, we see how age becomes important to our intersectional analyses of racialised (im)mobile labour across multi-ple historical and comparative contexts, and to our understandings of how inequalities are (re)produced over time.