Young Indonesian Cruise Workers, Symbolic Violence and International Class Relations

Luh Putu Artini, Pam Nilan, Steven Threadgold


This article reports on an investigation of the experiences of well-educated young Indonesians who choose a career in cruise ship work rather than go to university, or work in the local tourist industry. A sociological approach is taken that sees the cruise ship environment as a microcosm of international class relations. Attention is paid to the symbolic violence experienced by young workers who find their dream of travel on the high seas consists of mundane service work in uncomfortable conditions far from home. The phenomenon suggests the emergence of a young cosmopolitan migrant worker who does not experience any acculturation to a new country, but acculturation to life in a “total environment” of 24 hour service work subject to few international labor regulations. Undoubtedly there are financial and work experience benefits, but there is also much to be endured in the extended transition from youth to adulthood during cruise ship work.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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