Dissertation Abstracts

Disassembling the “Black Box of Rights”: Ethnography of Migrant Workers’ Rights’ Struggles in Israel and Singapore

Author: Kfir, Nelly , nellykfir@gmail.com
Department: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University: Tel Aviv University, Israel
Supervisor: Dr. Adriana Kemp
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: Hebrew

Keywords: Migrant Workers , Human Rights , NGOs , Comparative ethnography
Areas of Research: Migration , Human Rights and Global Justice , Comparative Sociology


The study builds on the anthropology of human rights and considers the “social life” (Wilson, 1997) of labor migrants’ rights in two nominally “non-immigration” countries that have highly excluding citizenship regimes: Israel and Singapore. The study focuses on the role of NGOs and migrants in giving life to rights in these countries. While stressing the critical role of formal rights in determining migrants’ wellbeing, this study reveals the importance and characteristics of the ongoing social process of migrant workers’ rights advocacy as well the significance of state-civil society relations in this process.