Reflections on Collective Insecurity and Virtual Resistance in the times of COVID-19 in Malaysia

Authors

  • Linda Lumayag Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
  • Teresita Del Rosario
  • Frances S. Sutton Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio State University, United States https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5034-8457

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/ml.v17i5.1013

Keywords:

collective insecurity, virtual resistance, Malaysia, COVID-19, migrant workers

Abstract

Environments of human insecurity are a widespread problem in our globalised world, particularly for migrant workers, one of the most vulnerable groups in society today. These experiences of insecurity have been heightened in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we examine the collective experience of insecurity among migrant workers in Malaysia. In our analysis, we outline collective insecurity at two levels: the micro level of migrant workers’ daily, subjective experiences of insecurity; and the macro level, in which insecurity is a consequence of structural forces, specifically the globalisation of labour. These two levels interact symbiotically, producing states of insecurity that are concretely experienced as anxiety and fear. Migrant workers in Malaysia also practice agency through small forms of resistance that they use to bolster one another and reduce their insecure experiences. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, migrant workers have been further marginalised by the state, but they have also become connected to one another through acts of solidarity and resistance. However, the sustainability of these forms remains unclear.

Author Biographies

Linda Lumayag, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

LINDA A. LUMAYAG is a Senior Lecturer at the Anthropology and Sociology Programme, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, in Malaysia. Her research interests are focused on labour migration, refugees, undocumented peoples, marriage migration and development issues.

Teresita Del Rosario

TERESITA C. DEL ROSARIO has a background in Sociology, Social Anthropology and Public Policy from Boston College, Harvard University, and New York University.  Her research interests are in the broad areas of historical and development sociology, of which migration is central theme.  

Frances S. Sutton, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio State University, United States

Frances S. Sutton, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences, Ohio State University, 4034 Smith Laboratory, 174 W. 18th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, United States.

Published

2020-09-28

How to Cite

Lumayag, L., Del Rosario, T., & Sutton, F. S. (2020). Reflections on Collective Insecurity and Virtual Resistance in the times of COVID-19 in Malaysia. Migration Letters, 17(5), 719-731. https://doi.org/10.33182/ml.v17i5.1013

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