Performative bordering practices: the study of the boundaries between migrant workers from Myanmar and native-born people in the Mahachai area, Samut Sakhon province, Thailand

Authors: Puttaporn Areeprachakun*, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Migration, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: migrant workers from Myanmar, migrant workers’ lives, boundaries, identities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8226, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Migration is seen as a crisis, a problem and a threat. For securing society, migrants have to be divided into good and bad circulations. On the one hand, migrants are an important factor driving some national economies. On the other hand, some migrants are seen as harmful to national security. Therefore, migration is an important issue to study and to understand, including problems related to migration and ways to solve those problems. Accordingly, to understand issues related to migration, my research seeks to investigate the migrant workers from Myanmar’ lives in Thailand, specifically those who live in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon Province. The Mahachai area is well-known for supporting the largest Burmese community in Thailand. The research will investigate the boundaries between the migrant workers from Myanmar and native-born people in this area. My project is shaped by concepts related to boundaries, identities, labor geographies and managers of unease. The research will illustrate the stories of the migrant workers from Myanmar in four main points. First, I will talk about how the migrant workers from Myanmar came to the Mahachai area; and why did they decide to come to the Mahachai area? Secondly, I will describe how Thai state, local officials and security professionals view and manage the migrant workers from Myanmar. Then, I will talk about the relationships among the migrant workers from Myanmar and native-born workers in a factory. How do those workers shift their identities to be part of other groups in the factory?

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