Embodied Placemaking: Filipina Migrant Domestic Workers’ Neighborhood in Beirut


  • Dalia Zein Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva




migrant domestic workers, Lebanon, placemaking, intersectionality


Based on a larger ethnographic project that investigates the spatial impact of the kafala (sponsorship) system on the access and mobility of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Beirut, Lebanon, this paper focuses on embodiment and the placemaking of Filipina MDWs in the city. From a theoretical lens that is placed at the intersection between the anthropology of space and place and feminist geography, I argue that the ways in which the precarious and marginalized community of Filipinas creatively makes place for themselves in the city despite spatial exclusion, labor restrictions, and employers’ control, ascribe new meanings to these already existing productions of Beiruti space. The argument is delivered through a spatial ethnographic analysis based on two months of participant observation and semi-structured interviews.

Author Biography

Dalia Zein, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

Dalia Zein is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the department of Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Originally with a background in landscape design and work experience in the urban development sector, her research interests center around the notions of cities, space and place and how they are lived by individuals with various gender, race, and class identities or migration experience. 



2020-10-15 — Updated on 2020-10-15