The profile of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong has changed in significant ways since Hong Kong's reunification with the People's Republic of China in 1997, the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, and the SARS outbreak of 2003. Several changes have also appears, the most striking of which is the influx of about 90,000 Indonesian domestic workers and the relative decrease in the number of Filipinas. Another change is the tenor and scope of the workers' activism.
Drawing from recent migrant worker protests (including the anti-WTO protests of December 2005,) Dr. Constable considers the increasingly global and transnational aspects of foreign domestic worker activism and the increased breadth of their networks and affiliations, as well as the implications of such activism in relation to newly generated and displaced meanings of citizenship and human rights within and beyond the context of the self-ascribed "Asian World City" of Hong Kong.
Nicole Constable received her MA and PhD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. She is a sociocultural anthropologist whose interests include the anthropology of work; ethnicity, nationalism, and history; gender, migration, and transnationalism; folklore; and ethnographic writing and power.
Her geographical areas of specialization are Hong Kong, China and the Philippines. She has conducted fieldwork in Hong Kong on constructions of Hakka Chinese Christian identity and on resistance and discipline among Filipina domestic workers.
Her current research involves Chinese and Filipino immigrants to the U.S. and U.S.-Asian correspondence marriages.