Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Filipina Workers

By Nicole Constable | Go to book overview

7
RESISTANCE AND PROTEST

"Once upon a time," Sherry, Ortner writes, "resistance was a relatively unambiguous category, half of the seemingly simple binary, domination versus resistance. Domination was a relatively fixed and institutionalized form of power, resistance was essentially organized opposition to power institutionalized in this way" ( 1995:174). Michel Foucault"drew attention to less institutionalized, more pervasive and more everyday forms of power," and James Scott"drew attention to less organized, more pervasive, and more everyday forms of resistance" (175). Ortner criticizes many studies of resistance for their "ethnographic refusal" -- that is, for "thinning" culture, sanitizing local politics, and "dissolving" subjects by neglecting the wider ethnographic context in which resistance occurs. This chapter describes both organized and subtler everyday forms of resistance expressed by Filipina domestic workers. I hope to convey a "thicker" sense of the ethnographic context in which resistance may or may not occur and a sense of the choices, constraints, and ambivalence experienced by domestic workers.


EXPERIENCE AND AWARENESS

In the late 1970s, after high school, Elsa and Belle got jobs in factories to help support their family. Belle sewed bras for Topform's manufactur-

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Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Filipina Workers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xix
  • 1 - Foreign and Domestic in Hong Kong 1
  • 2 - Global Themes and Local Patterns 17
  • 3 - Superior Servants 40
  • 4 - The Trade in Workers 59
  • 5 - Household Rules and Relations 83
  • Photographs 113
  • 6 - Disciplined Migrants, Docile Workers 125
  • 7 - Resistance and Protest 155
  • 8 - Docility and Self-Discipline 180
  • 9 - Pleasure and Power 202
  • References 211
  • Index 225
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