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In Service and Servitude explores the relationship between contemporary domestic service and the pursuit of the good life in an era of global ecomic transformation. The author offers an interdisciplinary approach to examining the in-migration of foreign domestic workers in Malaysia. The book uses Malaysia as a case study of the role played by foreign domestics in a rapidly industrializing Asian country. Christine Chin discusses how the state elites and the middle classes come to rationalize the demand for-and treatment of-domestic workers while pursuing the country's modernity project, designed to create a stable, developed, multiethnic society. She shows how different and competing pressures on the regional, national, and household levels leave Filipina and Indonesian domestics open to mistreatment and abuse, most directly by employment agencies and employers. Chin argues that late-twentieth-century efforts to expand open markets and establish global free trade, encourage the exploitation of transnational migrant workers, and that such exploitation should t become an acceptable part of pursuing the good life.
Christine B. N. Chin is assistant professor of international relations in the School of International Service at American University.