An ethnography of restaurant workers: Thai women in England

  • Kitcharoen P
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This article presents the results of an ethnographic study of women em- ployed in a successful chain of Thai restaurants in England. The study aims to illuminate the experiences of migrant women in an ethnic, Thai-owned business. Building on household strategies, it describes a pattern of female transnational migration from Thailand. It uses the tools of participant observation and in-depth interviews to examine the daily lives of women in the restaurants, their accommodations, their communities in the UK and the ways in which they maintain transnational households through their per- sonal contacts, visits and remittances. The study finds that the restaurant’s full-time employed women live in isolation from the local community. Although the work performed by these women is rigidly disciplined, there is a high level of trust between them and their employers. The full-time employed women report positive outcomes associated with their transnational lives despite the harshness of their lived realities.

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  • Patreeya Kitcharoen

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