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diasporic governmentality: on the gendered limits of migrant wage-labour in Portugal

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This essay explores the meaning of diasporic practice as it has been applied within the contemporary Black Atlantic context. The general focus of this topic has been visible or performative practices that have broad audiences, ranging from diasporic members to the sociopolitically included or the privileged citizen. Moreover, the objects or products of diasporic practice are largely understood to be aesthetic; the literature has highlighted music, dance, art, and religion, for instance. In this essay I argue that a taken-for-granted prerequisite of a hierarchized viewing audience misses passing moments of negotiation that occur in silence or within disciplined exchanges among persons who we identify as diasporic. These practices build community in very powerful ways but may not leave lasting traces or archives; they have to do with fleeting displays of affect such as rage, shame, joy, etc. The ethnographic focus is African immigrant women's constrained work schedules in Lisbon and the ways their labour-time textures the types of community - building practices in which they engage on a daily basis. I address how gendered configurations of migrant labour-time -a condition for governmentality – influence the diasporic process by which a form of racial identification is assumed in the context of Portugal.Feminist Review (2008) 90, 48–67. doi:10.1057/fr.2008.25
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2008

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