the fire these times

37. The Racialisation of Migrant Labor Under the Kafala System in Lebanon

This is a conversation with Daryn Howland. She’s a Beirut-based researcher who recently finished her MA thesis entitled “racist capital: the racialization of migrant labor under the kafala system in Beirut”, the subject of our discussion. You can read the thesis in its current format here.

Daryn argues that the racialisation and dehumanisation of migrant domestic workers under the Kafala system in Lebanon contains four components:

  • Commodification
  • Inferiorization
  • Criminalization
  • Sexualization

These four components are crucial to the reproduction of the Kafala system’s structural racism which, ultimately, confines migrant domestic workers, the overwhelming majority of whom are women, to their labor. We unpack each of them so that, hopefully, you’ll get a good sense of how the Kafala system functions on a structural level.

We also spoke about how the components of the Kafala system also end up affecting any person of color, particularly of African and Asian heritage, in Lebanon.

This is the fourth episode on the Kafala system. To see the previous three, click here.

Additional links:


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Music by Tarabeat. The photo is a modified version of the Anti-Kafala Action logo designed by Rawane Issa. You can find the original one at the Anti-Kafala Action resources page.

2 replies to “37. The Racialisation of Migrant Labor Under the Kafala System in Lebanon

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