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Intra-Asian Guest Worker Migration

Asian Community Lecture Series

Intra-Asian Guest Worker Migration

Lecture by Pei-chia Lan, National Taiwan University

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM (Pacific Time)
Physics and Astronomy 1425

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Scholars have debated the significance of skill in the process of migrant selection and mobility. It is often assumed that skills can be objectively measured and converted into labor market rewards and opportunities. And yet, the skilled/unskilled binary is also a dubious boundary subject to cultural variations and political intervention. The nature of carework skills is especially contested because it is associated with women’s roles in the private sphere and largely staffed by minorities and immigrants. This talk compares the paradoxical conditions of migrant care workers in two major receiving countries in Asia: Taiwan’s policy regime has positioned live-in care workers as “unskilled” foreigners, who nevertheless have gained increasing desirability and mobility in the labor market. By contrast, Japan has maintained the regime of skilled migration but the recent expansion of the trainee program (TITP) reinforces paternalistic control over migrant caregivers, who are considered culturally inadequate. Professor Pei-Chia Lan proposes a multifaced framework to examine how the state and intermediary agencies co-produce the skill regime of care migration, including the following dimensions: migrant skills as a political language and structure of governance, care work skills as social and cultural constructions, the infrastructure of recruitment and training, and the consequence of labor market mobility.

Pei-Chia Lan is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of Global Asia Research Center (GARC) at National Taiwan University. Her major publications include Global Cinderellas: Migrant Domestics and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan (Duke 2006, won a Distinguished Book Award from the Sex and Gender Section of the American Sociological Association and ICAS Book Prize: Best Study in Social Science from the International Convention of Asian Scholars) and Raising Global Families: Parenting, Immigration, and Class in Taiwan and the US (Stanford 2018).

This lecture, is presented in conjunction with the UCLA winter course "Asian Community: Border-Crossing, Diasporic Formation, and Social Transformation in the Asian World" (Sociology M139 / Asian American Studies M179), with generous funding from the Eurasia Foundation (from Asia).  

This lecture will be offered in person only at Physics and Astronomy 1425. 

For questions about the event, please contact asia@international.ucla.edu

Sponsor(s): Asia Pacific Center, Center for Study of International Migration