Identity as a strategy for negotiating everyday life in transience: A case study of Asian foreign talent in Singapore

Gomes, C 2019, 'Identity as a strategy for negotiating everyday life in transience: A case study of Asian foreign talent in Singapore', Current Sociology, vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 225-249.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Identity as a strategy for negotiating everyday life in transience: A case study of Asian foreign talent in Singapore
Author(s) Gomes, C
Year 2019
Journal name Current Sociology
Volume number 67
Issue number 2
Start page 225
End page 249
Total pages 25
Publisher Sage
Abstract Singapore is host to approximately 1.7 million transient migrants who either work or study in the city-state. While there has been extensive research on the conditions of low skilled or unskilled workers, little has been written about the experiences of the educated and middle class transnationally mobile workers and students and how they make a home for themselves in the city-state. Through in-depth interviews with 86 international students and educated transnationally mobile workers on their self-perceived identities, social networks, concepts of home, and media and communication use, this article looks at the strategies used by 'foreign talent' migrants to feel at home in Singapore. It is observed that while foreign talent migrants develop a combination of creative strategies in order to make Singapore 'a home away from home', being transient negatively affects their relationship with Singaporeans. The study also finds that while transient migrants develop close relationships with co-nationals as a strategy for transience, they also maintain/develop class structures while overseas. In other words, international students and white collar workers do not associate with co-nationals who are in low skilled or unskilled work. Drawing on the concept that transient migrants use their self-perceived identities to negotiate everyday life, this article argues that foreign talent migrants use their self-perceived identities to create emerging social and cultural spaces through their versions of reconstructions of home and by their (non)interactions with co-nationals and Singaporeans. In doing so, this article specifically moves away from the literature on time and temporalities which situates the temporary migrant as facing challenges overseas due to the break in their expected life course and connections to home, highlighting instead that transient migrants see their temporality not as a disruption but rather part of their evolving life course.
Subject Migrant Cultural Studies
Asian Cultural Studies
Keyword(s) Foreign talent
Identity
Life course
Temporalities
Transience
Singapore
DOI - identifier 10.1177/0011392118792929
Copyright notice © The Author(s) 2018
ISSN 0011-3921
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