Ethnic Migrants and Casinos in Singapore and Macau

  • Juan ZhangEmail author
Reference work entry


This chapter offers an empirical account on migrant workers, their identities, and their embodied experiences of labor hierarchy along ethnic lines in mega-casino resorts in Asia. As casino resorts become opportunities for fast-track economic development and urban renewal in the region since 2010, the Asian gaming sector has become a major industry relying heavily on rural-urban, inter-regional, and international migrant labor. With a focus on Filipino and Chinese casino workers in Singapore and Macau, this chapter explores complex inequalities experienced by migrants in a highly cosmopolitan and highly competitive work environment. Job hierarchies are often established based on cultural assumptions of particular characteristics and competencies attributed to different groups, consolidating classed and gendered stereotypes in the workplace. Although migrant workers in casinos try to resist negative ethnic stereotyping by emphasizing on their credentials and professionalism, they continue to perform the identity of the “perfect worker” with an “Asian-style” of conformity, self-discipline, and flexibility.


Ethnic subjectivity Casino Complex inequalities Transnational migration Singapore Macau 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology and ArchaeologyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Melani Shyleen Anae
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Studies, Te Wānanga o WaipapaUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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