Nicole Constable, “Passport Entanglements: Protection, Care, and Precarious Migrations” (U California Press, 2022)

Passport Entanglements examines the problems with documents issued to Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong and explores the larger role that passports and other types of documentation play in gendered migration, precarious labor, and bureaucracy. Focusing on the politics and inequalities embedded in passports, anthropologist Nicole Constable considers how these instruments determine legal status and dictate rights. Constable finds that new biometric technologies and surveillance do not lead to greater protection, security, or accuracy, but rather reinforce violent structures on already vulnerable women by producing new vulnerabilities and reproducing old ones.

Nicole Constable is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh and author of several books, including Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and “Mail Order” Marriages and Born Out of Place: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor.

Alize Arıcan is a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar at Boston University, focusing on urban anthropology, futurity, care, and migration. Her work has been featured in Environment and Planning DCurrent Anthropology, and City & Society, among other journals and public-facing platforms. You can find her on Twitter @alizearican.

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