This study examines the transnational movement of high-tech labor from the perspective of techmigrant families. It highlights the issue of dependent immigrant women, spouses of guestworkers who perform high-skilled jobs in the United States. As dependents, these immigrant women are subject to a restrictive immigration status that mandates years of unemployment, while permitting limited pathways to pursue higher education. The study poses the issue of dependent migration as a feminized construct at the intersection of the fields of gender, migration and educational studies. Data were collected through an ethnographic study of the Indian techmigrant community in and around Atlanta over a period of eighteen months. In-depth interviews with techmigrant spouses generated narratives on migration and education. The study framework accounted for the simultaneous subjection and self-making of gendered and dependent immigrant subjectivities. Using a blend of discourse and narrative analyses, a contextual reading of subject-making processes saw immigrant women as located on the edge of transnational labor arbitrage and within overlapping state, market and familial discourses. While the narratives of dependent immigrant women showed evidence of interwoven subjection discourses, they also exemplified moments of awareness of subjection processes and the appropriation of these same discourses into self-making processes. Ultimately, in the navigation of macro institutional forces, educated subjectivities, also referred to as “educated selves” in this study, played a significant role in offering these immigrant women room to leverage these subject-making processes.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2017. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Joan DeJaeghere. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 176 pages.
Producing educated selves: Gender, migration and subjectivity on the edge of transnational high-tech labor arbitrage.
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