Book review: Pardis Mahdavi, Crossing the Gulf: Love and Family in Migrant Lives

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Pardis Mahdavi’s Crossing the Gulf is based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Arabian Gulf that investigated immobilities and mobilities as well as familial love in the lives of migrant workers. Although her data concentrate mainly on Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), her arguments are relevant to other countries in the area with a signifi- cant presence of domestic workers. The book offers a deeply original reading of migration and intimacy.
Crossing the Gulf investigates the intimate lives of migrants, particularly how bonds of love and family influence their emotional, social, and physical mobilities and immobilities. Mahdavi draws on a vast array of interviews conducted with migrant workers, activists, government officials, and the staff of international organizations in the receiving countries of Kuwait and the UAE and the sending countries of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, and Madagascar. She met her interlocutors in cafés, jails, shelters, embassies, grassroots organizations’ offices, and private houses. Crossing the Gulf offers a rich and multidimensional problematization of migrant journeys and the life choices of foreign workers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Pages (from-to)107-109
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Middle East Women's Studies
VolumeJournal of Middle East Women's Studies
Issue numberissue 15, no. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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