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PhD Dissertation Defence: “From a ‘Cheli’ in Nepal to a ‘Khadama’ in the Arabian Gulf Countries: the Local‐Global Entanglements and Gendered Labour Migration Governance”

May 11, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Hari KC‘s dissertation defence.


This dissertation explores: In what ways does gender operate as a governing code in Nepal’s labour migration governance? This question is answered in three specific ways. First, it explores how the gender codes in the Nepali society conjoin global forces to create structural conditions for women’s transnational labour migration. Second, it examines how the Nepali state – within the regional/global geopolitics – embraces the gendered labour migration policy to produce, reproduce, and perpetuate the gender codes. Third, it explicates the ways in which women migrating for domestic work in the Arabian Gulf countries resist and subvert the gender codes while being implicated in the entangled precarity. The research also deliberates on the migrant rights politics and activism that attend to the entangled precarity faced by the Nepali women migrant domestic workers. The dissertation proposes the “gendered local‐global entanglements” as a conceptual framework to explore the ways in which the local and global forces and processes are deeply enmeshed and embedded in: 1) women’s transnational labour migration; 2) the gender discriminatory labour migration policy; and 3) the production of entangled precarity faced by women migrant domestic workers.

First, the dissertation explicates women’s transnational labour migration for domestic work in the light of four‐pronged sociocultural and economic processes and their gendered implications, intersecting with multiple other axes of oppression. Further, the dissertation describes Nepal as a quasimigration brokerage state while embracing an “exception to neoliberalism” labour migration policy toward women migrant workers. Such a policy is embedded in the notion of a “masculine sovereignty” which emanates from the patriarchy that conceives women as vulnerable. In contrast to women’s vulnerability, this research unmasks the vulnerability of the Nepali state, as reflected through its “sandwiched sovereignty” that refers to a fragile geopolitical position, resulting from a concurrent pressure from and complicity with global forces and its debilitating bargaining power. Finally, the dissertation explores the ways in which the gendered labour systems and patriarchal ideologies in Nepal and the Arabian states are enmeshed in producing the entangled precarity. These findings are based on roughly five months of ethnographic fieldwork in Nepal, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates and engagements with women migrant domestic workers, including state and non‐state actors.

Supervisor: Dr. Jenna Hennebry
Committee: Dr. Margaret Walton-Roberts and Dr. Alison Mountz
Internal/external: Dr. Jonathan Crush
External: Dr. Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, University of Southern California

There are limited spaces available to attend the defence. Email events@balsillieschool.ca if you would like to attend.

Hari KC


May 11, 2022
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON Canada
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