appendix 1. Notes on Fieldwork
I conducted three stages of fieldwork: preliminary fieldwork in Pakistan, the UAE, and
Kuwait during the summer of 2003 and 2004; primary fieldwork in Kuwait from 2006–7,
which included a visit to Nepal during the summer of 2007; and follow-up visits to Kuwait
in 2008 and 2010.
Regardless of the plans and itineraries I charted before leaving for the field, my initial
time in Kuwait was consumed with figuring out how to live and navigate the city- state as a
single woman on a straightened bud get (relatively speaking). I learned firsthand how living
accommodations, transportation, and spaces of social interaction are highly segmented in
Kuwait, divided between (1) those who belonged to, reside with and socialize through net-
works of house holds (including domestic workers, Kuwaitis, long- standing foreign resi-
dents); (2) recently arrived well- heeled foreign residents and expatriates living in housing
complexes, individuals who largely socialize in commercially oriented public spaces (i.e.,
malls, restaurants, cafes); (3) so- called bachelor workers or mi grant workers, who live in
dormitories or building complexes located in neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city,
or in parts of the city that have other wise been abandoned by others, and who are bused
to and from their housing accommodations to their work places by the companies with
whom they work; and (4) others such as myself, ser vice industry workers, nurses, teach-
ers, lower- middle-class and middle-class foreign residents who existed in the interstices of
these other spaces. In general, social interactions among diff er ent groups in Kuwait, and
house holds and private spaces are largely channeled along national, ethnic, and linguistic
lines. Im por tant exceptions are private spaces and house holds of Kuwaitis and well- heeled
foreign residents who employ mi grant domestic workers. Interactions among peoples of
diff er ent ethnonational and class- occupational backgrounds take place in public arenas
such as (in certain cases) work spaces, elite private schools, commercially oriented public
places, certain public parks, and religious centers.
Within this social matrix, at first there were few spaces where I could meet with and get
to know domestic workers. My entry into Kuwait’s myriad social worlds was hampered by
my lack of substantive connections (i.e., in the form of family members, work colleagues
or long- standing friendships). As I was experiencing firsthand, in addition to the paucity
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