This issue addresses how laborers within intimate industries—those who do interpersonal work that tends to the sexual, bodily, health, hygiene, or care needs of individuals—are shaping Asia’s growing role in the global economy. The contributors investigate how intimate industries support relational connections for consumers while disrupting laborers’ relationships, as in the case of migrants who perform intimate labor away from their families and communities of origin. The articles collected here include examinations of such trade-offs and their complex meanings and implications for the workers. The authors explore these social processes through the lens of industries that organize, enable, or delimit the trade in domestic labor, marriage migration, companionship and romance, sex work, pornographic performance, surrogate mothering and ova donation, and cosmetics sales. This issue puts people, as embodied subjects, back into narratives of economic change and offers a perspective on globalization from below.
Contributors: Danièle Bélanger, Hae Yeon Choo, Nicole Constable, Daisy Deomampo, Akhil Gupta, Chaitanya Lakkimsetti, Pei-Chia Lan, Purnima Mankekar, Eileen Otis, Juno Salazar Parreñas, Rhacel Parreñas, Sharmila Rudrappa, Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Rachel Silvey, Hung Cam Thai, Leslie Wang