Translocal Precarity: Labor and Social Reproduction in Cambodia

TitleTranslocal Precarity: Labor and Social Reproduction in Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsW. Green N, Estes J
Secondary TitleAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Key themesGender, MigrationLabour

Many people in the Global South have left behind rural homes in search of employment in urban and transnational labor markets often defined by precarious work. Employment is insecure, uncertain, and temporary, and for transnational migrants, there is the constant risk of deportation. Although geographers have studied such migrant precarity, there is an increasing interest in its translocal dimensions, particularly related to how precarious work travels home and affects left-behind family members. This scholarship, however, tends to assume that precarity arises primarily in the spaces of production. Drawing on twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork in rural Cambodia, we argue that precarity simultaneously emerges from the challenges of social reproduction faced by kin in rural communities. As such, we further develop the concept of translocal precarity to capture the fragility of social reproduction strategies that migrant households employ across space. Translocal precarity is the looming threat that family members’ efforts to support one another might fall apart due to the instability of urban labor markets in tandem with a lack of sustaining infrastructures in rural areas. Our argument advances geographic scholarship on precarity by explaining how it is experienced across the translocal relations that connect the productive and reproductive labor of household members living in different locations.


Copyrighted journal article



Document Type

Journal Article