Downwardly Global: Women, Work, and Citizenship in the Pakistani Diaspora
The Catastrophic Present
Precarity is not only an economic condition, but also a sensorial experience. This chapter explores the sensorial and affective registers by which people come to understand their belonging (or not), how they respond to that sensation, and the incommensurability that marks them and attempts to interpellate them as second-class citizens. Like the uneven distribution of resources, precarity is also dealt unevenly, as the life histories in this final chapter demonstrate. I explore women’s understandings of citizenship, identity, place, and belonging, examining the ways women invoke discourses of a promising future in order to understand their liminal and marginal position. In so doing, they position themselves as good citizens deserving of full participation in the nation-state. Embedded in these narratives are strains of hope and optimism, which illuminate important features of the affective dimension of precarity. Hope or promises of a better life provide a means out of the catastrophic present.