Kemp, Adriana, and Nelly Kfir. “Mobilizing Migrant Workers’ Rights in ‘Non-immigration’ Countries: The Politics of Resonance and Migrants’ Rights Activism in Israel and Singapore.” Law & Society Review 50.1 (2016): 82-116.
How are the rights of migrant workers mobilized in non-immigration regimes? Drawing on an ethnography of human rights NGOs in Israel and Singapore, two countries that share similar ethnic policies but differ in their political regime, this study contributes to scholarship on migrants’ rights mobilization by expanding cross-national analysis beyond the United States and West Europe and diverting its focus from legal institutions to the places where rights are produced. Findings show that differences in the political regime influence the channels for mobilizing claims but not the cultural politics of resonance that NGOs use when dealing with the tensions between restrictive ethnic policies and the expansion of labor migration. While restraints in authoritarian Singapore operate mainly outside the activists’ circle, in the Israeli ethno-democracy they operate through self-disciplining processes that neutralize their potential challenge to hegemonic understandings of citizenship. Paradoxically, success in advancing rights for migrants through resonance often results in reinforcing the non-immigration regime.