International Sociology and International Sociology Reviews

Topic of the Month, May 2024

‘Migrant Workers’ is our Topic of the Month for May 2024. On this topic, enjoy Free Access to this article by Kyoko Kusakabe (Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand) and Ruth Pearson (University of Leeds, UK) published in International Sociology, Working through exceptional space: The case of women migrant workers in Mae Sot, Thailand. Read on to know more about the authors’ trajectory and work.

Kyoko Kusakabe

Why are you working on this topic? Could you share an experience, a fact or a person who made you get engage on that research?

K. Kusakabe: I have been fascinated by border areas since the particular situated location of the border area creates an interesting space where gender norms and practices get more flexible than in the centerlands. Before this study on labor migration, I have studied border trade between Thailand and Laos, and between Thailand and Cambodia.

My first trip to Mae Sot, a border town in the Thai side adjacent to Myanmar, has been shocking, with garment factories built in the middle of nowhere with no name board of the factory. This is the town where many migrant workers from Myanmar work in these un-named factories without any registration. This has led to our research project that this paper is based on.

Do you have any video, recorded conference, or online material that you would like us to share with others?

K. Kusakabe: Below are websites (online material) as well as YouTube video that have been developed after the project that this paper is based on.

What would you emphasize about your academic trajectory? Can you highlight which have been your academic positions, universities, awards, departments and research centers please?

K. Kusakabe: I am a professor of Gender and Development Studies, Department of Development and Sustainability, School of Environment, Resources and Development of Asian Institute of Technology. I am currently a co-Editor-In-Chief of Gender, Technology and Development Journal (published by Taylor and Francis). I have been a visiting professor at Sciences Po, France (2012-2013), foreign guest professor at University of Dhaka (2021-), adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba (2021-), and advisor of several NGOs. I was a member of the issue-specific supporting committee on development and gender of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) (2013-2016). I have been awarded Gold Medal Award from Asian Fisheries Society (AFS) and I am currently a vice-chair of Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section of AFS.