Accepted paper:

Visualising the unseen: Understanding the situation of migrant workers in Thailand through the camera lens

Authors:

Piyarat Panlee (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper takes visual representation as an interdisciplinary field of practice to explore the relationship between popular culture, politics and migration. Based on field experiences, the paper argues that audio-visual practices reveal the everyday life and social mobility of the migrant.

Paper long abstract:

This paper takes visual representation as an interdisciplinary field of practice to explore the relationship between popular culture, politics and migration. Based on field experiences in Thailand, the paper argues that audio-visual practices reveal the everyday life and social mobility of the migrant. Arising from an interest in visual methods of observing and analysing such everyday life, particularly within the context of a contemporary capitalist society, it sets out to explore how visual representation facilitates an understanding of the process of migrating and settling. By using photographs as a key resource to capture this socio-economic phenomenon, the paper focuses on how photographs impact on visual reflexivity in ethnographic fieldwork. It also aims to challenge the prevailing representation of migrant workers in the visual landscape in Thai academia. Moreover, by exploring relationships to place, this paper sheds light on the invisible work of invisible workers in the transformation of Thai society in the age of the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) through a photography project. In so doing, it argues that visual representations illustrate the diversity of migrant workers and their memories, experiences and social relationships.

panel P078
Working with images in (un-)stable times [VANEASA]