Cross-border Mobility: Women, Work and Malay Identity in Indonesia offers a fresh perspective on the association between mobility and the ethnocultural category ‘Malay’. In so doing, it raises new research questions that are relevant to the study of Indonesian women’s socioeconomic mobility more generally. Based on fieldwork in Sambas, a region of Indonesia bordering Malaysia, this study documents the ethnocultural consequences of the highly mobile working lives of Sambas Malay women. Emphasising the significance of territorial borders in women’s working lives, this study highlights how women’s border location not only facilitates cross-border pathways of international labour migration and trade, but also generates feelings of peripherality that inform women’s imaginative construction of other, nonterritorial borders that need to be crossed. Shaped by social class, gender, and the economic and cultural possibilities of political decentralization, the study identifies three borderscopes that orient women’s work-related mobility and create diverse outcomes for the ethnocultural category 'Sambas Malay'.
Wendy Mee is Senior Lecturer and Sociology Program Convenor at La Trobe University, Melbourne.