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Practising hope in an urban landscape: the poetics and politics of Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong

Wu, HY; (2017) Practising hope in an urban landscape: the poetics and politics of Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis is about the Filipino migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong and how they carve an alternative space in Central on their days off. This alternative space speaks of not merely a social space but a material built environment around which the migrants build their new subjectivities and constitute a transnational movement construed through the assertion of their rights as workers, women and human beings under the rubric of universal human rights. I first discuss the spatial practices of the community to adapt to changes in the physical landscape and reveal the nuanced social relationships and contestation of spaces amongst the members of the community. The linear and cyclical repetitions of their Sunday life act to punctuate the everyday repetitive life they have as domestic workers and create and inscribe patterns of usage of space that disrupt the dominant corporate space of Central that has come to represent faceless capital and consumers of spectacles. Through encounters with the representatives of the authorities in protest marches and everyday interactions, I examine the tensions between the dominant abstract space and the marginalised lived space and argue that the negotiations and creative alternative ways of appropriating spaces by the Filipinos illustrate that the domination of abstract space is not absolute. Alternative social relations emerge in the cracks of the abstract space and these alternatives are the beginning of something hopeful –the transnational migrant domestic workers’ movement. Lastly, I argue that the transnational migrant movement in Hong Kong is underpinned by ‘practising hope’ – of one’s encounter with injustice; of the political awakening that the personal is political; of the identification of oneself as part of a collective and a community. The basis of it all is underpinned by the Sunday gatherings they have in Central that substantiate their claim to the ‘right to the city’.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Practising hope in an urban landscape: the poetics and politics of Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1537340
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