Accepted Paper:

The fact of birth: antenatal care, identification documents, and shan migrant women in Thailand  

Author:

Bo Kyeong Seo (Free University Berlin )

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on discussions of sovereignty and political subjectivization I ask how the fact of birth is constituted at the margins of the state. I argue that enacting birth documents offers a chance for Shan migrant women in Chiang Mai to bridge the interstice between man and citizen.

Paper long abstract:

For transnational migrant populations, securing birth documents of newly born children has crucial importance in avoiding statelessness for new generations. Drawing on discussions of sovereignty and political subjectivization I ask how the very fact of birth is constituted at the margins of the state. Based on ethnographic data collected from an antenatal clinic in Chiang Mai, I explore how Shan migrant women from Burma utilize reproductive health services as a way of assuring a safe birth while acquiring identification documents. Paying close attention to technologies of inscription adopted for maternal care and birth registration, I argue that enacting bureaucratic documents offers a chance for migrant women to bridge the interstice between man and citizen. Birth certificates for migrant children, while embodying legal ambiguity and uncertainty, epitomize non-citizen subjects' assertion of their political relationship with the state.

Panel P101
Political subjectivities in the face of displacement: claiming rights, belonging, and social citizenship [ANTHROMOB]