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Emergent infrastructures of migrant solidarity and spaces of possibility across Taiwan’s urban peripheries

16:00, Tuesday 9 May 2023 EDT (30 minutes)

This paper engages with contemporary debates in labour geographies through its focus on precarity as a point of mobilisation, and the importance of material spaces in shaping migrant labour struggles. In Taiwan, temporary contract-based low-waged workers are faced with regulations that limit the right to change jobs and confines them to workplaces such as employers’ homes for caregivers, and dormitories for factory operators. Workplaces are often in distant industrial landscapes which increases isolation, exclusion, and vulnerability to exploitative working conditions. Despite fragmentation, migrants travel during day offs to get together in social and activity spaces of NGOs to consult case workers about employment-related issues, participate in labour education classes, and plan urban protests, amongst other unionising and collective organising efforts. Drawing on ethnographic research, this paper deploys the notion of ‘infrastructures of solidarity’ alongside that of the ‘urban periphery’ to explores how migrant workers and those who stand with them produced spaces of spatial praxis and possibility that exceeds efforts to keep them in the lateral spaces of urban life and Taiwanese society. Consequently, this paper points to the generative potential of the urban periphery as a site which opens political spaces that foster solidarities in the pursuit of socio-spatial justice.

Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
PhD Candidate
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