How do Foreign Domestic Workers Reconcile the Tensions between a Lowered Occupational Status and Aspirations for Upward Mobility?
Yeap, Camberlyn Yee Huei
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
To many Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs), Singapore is a land of opportunities. Domestic work becomes a quest for an upward mobility. Yet, they face tensions between a low occupational status and aspirations for an upward mobility. Through 24 in-depth qualitative interviews, I explore the various strategies FDWs adopt to reconcile such tensions. One, FDWs rationalise the social and economic value of their labour, as well as the moral value of their labour to overcome stigmatisations of domestic work. Two, FDWs leverage upon opportunities to accumulate capital, maximising their abilities to fulfil aspirations. Three, family becomes their salvation when FDWs struggle with a lowered occupational status, aspiring for a better future for their family. I analyse my findings on two levels. First, at a macro level, which includes social-political structures and their interactions. Second, at a micro level, which includes the interactions between FDWs and other social actors.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University