Working on the Border

In a new book review, Kyoko Kusakabe of the Department of Development and Sustainability at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand discusses Border Capitalism, Disrupted: Precarity and Struggle in a Southeast Asian Industrial Zone, authored by Stephen Campbell.

Published by the ILR Press of Cornell University Press,  Campbell’s book

describes how the external border (the international border with Myanmar) and internal border (police checkpoints that scrutinise migrants and prevent them from going to Bangkok and other cities in search of better wages) create a space where migrants are trapped in a precarious status of being “in-between,” exploited by employers and the police.

He focuses on the town of Mae Sot, on Thailand’s border with Myanmar. It’s had considerable attention over the years for its use of migrant workers in exploitative conditions. JCA had one of the first major articles on Mae Sot, back in 2005.

Kusakabe writes that:

The book is an interesting read with stories, anecdotes and rich descriptions of the everyday life of the migrants residing and working in Mae Sot. It is a book that only an author who has lived and worked in Mae Sot can write, being full of insights which the author gained through personal connections and relations with migrant workers.

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