Factory Work and Religious Aid in Cambodia by Dr May Ngo
Date : 03 Aug 2017
Time : 16:00 - 17:30
Venue : Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room
AS8 Level 4, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
National University of Singapore @ KRC


Dr Tina Shrestha, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


My research focuses on concepts and practices of development in Cambodia. Taking economic development as a point of departure, it explores the various ways this also implicates social, cultural and political dimensions, and how religious aid aims to intervene in processes of development and rapid industrialisation.

The research project examines factories in particular as a space where many key contemporary elements of development converge in ‘developing countries’, tracing how they are formed by and occur in post-colonial, post-conflict and post-Cold War contexts. Utilising the factory as an entry point for wider development processes, it will also analyse how these impact on workers within the factory who have their own desires, life projects and experiences. The approach taken is that development occurs in the meeting ground between wider systems and processes, and the people who must live with and respond to them.

Drawing on recent ethnographic fieldwork, this presentation will focus on a particular religious organisation, the Catholic Labour Pastoral Committee and its work to accompany, support and mitigate the effects of development on factory workers in Cambodia. It will also include reflections on the fieldwork process.


May Ngo is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Religion and Globalisation Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She earned her PhD in Anthropology at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Her doctoral research examined the role of religious actors in the humanitarian field, focusing on a case study of a Christian faith-based organisation in Morocco working with Sub-Saharan African irregular migrants. She has a forthcoming article to be published in the Journal of International Development and a book to be published by Routledge’s Research in Religion and Development book series based on her doctoral dissertation. Her research at ARI focuses on the intersection between industrialisation, development and religious actors, focusing on factory work in Cambodia and Catholic aid organisations.


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Contact Person(s)
Minghua TAY