Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait
This chapter examines domestic workers’ housetalk: how their emergent practice of Islam develops through their relations and work within Kuwaiti households. Households constitute spaces of everyday activities and interactions through which domestic workers come to develop Islamic sensibilities, ones marking the reworking of their subjectivities. This process develops through the confluence of affective labor, Islamic ethical formation, and a gendered discourse of South Asian women being naram. Far from experiencing their adoption of Islam as a radical change stemming from a dramatic episode or sudden realization, and far from experiencing it as a rejection of their previous lives and practices, domestic workers’ conversion to Islam entailed a gradual recasting and reworking of their lives and preexisting religious practice, a process rooted in the recursiveness of their everyday experiences within the household.