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The lived, and oftentimes silenced, experiences of "foreign workers" articulate the negotiation of power relations between "citizen" and "foreigner", and "Us" and "Them". These are translated into discursive practices that, in effect, legitimize and entrench differences — hence, inequalities — that effectively discipline the "foreign worker" as "not one of Us". By taking the example of Bangladeshi construction workers in Singapore as a case study, I argue in this paper that the workspaces of "foreign construction workers" in Singapore typify that of a "total institution", which correspondingly moulds the worker into a discursive ideal — the "good, docile Other". Such impositions and productions of Otherness, however, face rupture as workers (re)negotiate, (re)work, and (re)inscribe their everyday lives through the employment of what James Scott (1985, 1987) terms "everyday 'resistances'" in rising above that which subjugates them. I will present in this paper primary data elicited and collated from direct participant observation, fieldwork, and in-depth interviews conducted in a construction project in Singapore.

In: Asian Journal of Social Science
In: Coastal Urbanities
Mobilities, Meanings, Manoeuvrings
This volume explores how the city and the sea converse and converge in creating new forms of everyday urbanity in archipelagic and island Southeast Asia. Drawing inspiration from case studies spanning Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and New Caledonia, the volume rethinks the place of the sea in coastal cities, through a mobility-inspired understanding of urbanity itself. How might conceptualisations of contemporary coastal urbanisms be approached from the sea, in ways that complicate singularly terrestrial, fixed framings of the city? What connections, contradictions, and dissonances can be found between sea change and urban change? While addressing these questions, the authors re-centre more marginal voices of those who dwell and work in islanded metropoles, offering new insights on the futures and contested nature(s) of littoral urban transformation.