Downwardly Global: Women and Work in the Pakistani Diaspora

Lalaie Ameeriar
Asian American Studies
UC Santa Barbara

Downwardly Global examines the transnational labor migration of Pakistani Muslim women and explores how questions of unemployment are increasingly rationalized and understood by governmental bodies as questions of culture and racialized difference. Multiculturalism operates through a dual mode of interpellation whereby integration represents not the erasure of all differences, but the celebration of some differences and the eradication of others. Publicly, the multicultural nation-state has built a reputation of openly abdicating its right to impose a single culture on its citizens. However, culture is a primary domain of action. The state relinquishes cultural imperialism and celebrates multi-ness through state-sanctioned forms of difference, yet still uses semi-governmental agencies to impose a particular mode of bodily comportment on new immigrants. This dual mode of interpellation puts immigrants in an impossible situation in which they must sometimes suitably display their Otherness, but otherwise cannot be culturally different.