The Un-speakable Shame: Migrant Husbands, Racialisation, and Marginality of Balinese Men in the Netherlands
(University of Melbourne)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on ethnographic research with Balinese 'migrant husbands' in the Netherlands, this article explores the switching continuum of spoken and unspeakable, and how they relate to mobility regimes, moral panic about migrant men, and the production of good citizenship.
Paper long abstract:
Anthropologists and scholars in related fields have argued that silence, rather than being an absence, is a multiple and embodied presence that haunts language and is an integral part of discursive formation (Derrida 1978, Kidron 2009, Foucault 1978). Yet, acknowledging the complexity of silence is not enough. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research with Balinese men who migrated to the Netherlands after marrying a Dutch national (woman or man), this article explores the switching continuum of spoken and unspeakable, and how they relate to mobility regimes, moral panic about migrant men, and the production of good citizenship. Which themes are understood among the men to be unspoken and unspeakable? How are these silences enacted, experienced and understood, and what are the affective atmospheres they can produce? In contrast, why do these men talk extensively about their engagement in affective and care labour, which stands in opposition to traditional values ascribed to masculinity in Bali, and when and how do they do so?
Silences of/and mobility: towards an anthropology of the unspoken and unspeakable