Society for East Asian Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper explicates the ethical necessity of ‘disregard’ among Indian migrant workers in southeast China. Drawing on long-term and ongoing ethnographic fieldwork since 2010, the paper aims to capture the theme of disregard that has been significantly brought up in Indian workers’ narratives of their lived experience in China and beyond. In particular, it focuses on those who have been faced with the structural precarity as transient migrants and unskilled laborers in a China’s trade sector, which has been destabilized by on-going Global North-South power division. Struggling with workplace exploitations and unforeseeable uncertainties in everyday work activities, most Indian workers become conscious of their vulnerable position everywhere. Such a situated understanding of positionality in globalization, as the paper will illustrate, is the key to the everyday production of ethical disregard among these Indian workers. While suspending some of their ethical concerns on mutual trust and human-environment relations, Indian workers strive for prioritizing their own interest or, more precisely, strategical survivals in a volatile global economy.