Belonging and communicating in a bounded cosmopolitanism: The role of mobile phones in the integration of transnational migrants in Singapore

Aral Chib*, Rajiv G. Aricat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

Abstract

The unabated influx of transnational labour migrants has been accompanied by complex societal fissures, from differential policies to the creation of isolated cultural geographies. In Singapore, citizens voice their aggravation caused by transients' lack of acculturation, and the resultant risks posed to the cosmopolitan vision of the state. We examine the intersection of transnational acculturation with mediated communication via mobile phones within the domains of life and work. Data from in-depth qualitative interviews (75) allowed for thick descriptions. We find that, despite encountering heterotopic practices, transnational migrant workers engage in a phenomenon we label 'bounded cosmopolitanism', or the ability to engage in learning, enjoy economic growth, and embrace cultural hybridity, to escape the shackles of race, class, and gender. Mobile phones play a significant role in providing open participatory spaces; yet; this phenomenon signifying openness, innovation, and acceptance is restricted to organizational workspaces. We therefore conclude with comments on the implications of applying management perspectives to broader societal challenges, and propose shifting of the discourse from the bounded confines of the organization to that of society.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMigrant Workers In Singapore
Subtitle of host publicationLives And Labour In A Transient Migration Regime
EditorsBrenda S.A. Yeoh, Kellynn Wee, Theodora Lam
PublisherWorld Scientific
Chapter9b
Pages283-306
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789811255038
ISBN (Print)9789811255021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.

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