Liberty Chee is a theorist of international relations interested in phenomena that exceed ‘international relations’. She completed her PhD in Political Science at the National University of Singapore where her research investigated the practices of the ‘migration industry’ in global governance. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute.

Liberty Chee

Research Interests:

Liberty’s core research been formulated in an empirical context of a phenomenon that was born in Southeast Asia – the privatization of migration governance and the emergence of what we now call a ‘migration industry.’ This is an industry that has earned a notorious reputation for exploitation and whose activities constantly test limits of legality. Despite this, Liberty argues that these non-state actors –responding to and shaping market forces of labor supply and demand – are sources of global governance. Further, she argues that these practices are social relations of power that extend from the micro to the macroscale. The migration industry, notably recruitment agencies deploying migrant domestic workers, empirically demonstrate that global governance can exist at the margins of authoritative sovereign control.
Broadly she is interested in the kinds of productive tensions that are born out of the limits of IR theory and the methodological nationalism of the social sciences in understanding and investigating global phenomena. As such she is keen on developing theoretical and conceptual tools that may aid in investigating these. She is keen to look into phenomena that are simultaneously placeless and place-bound, e.g. the conduct of 21st century terrorism and global social movements. Liberty is also open to collaborating with peers on feminist methodologies, affect, neoliberal assemblages and feminist political economy.

Key Terms:

  • international relations theory
  • migration
  • theories of power
  • ethnography
  • reproductive labor
  • gender
  • feminist political economy
  • neoliberal governance
  • Michel Foucault
  • feminist science studies