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Title: "Just like one of the family"? : migrant domestic workers in the European Union
Author: Anderson, Bridget
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1998
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Domestic work in private households is, together with prostitution, the most significant employer of newly arrived female migrants. This thesis examines the phenomenon of the racialisation of paid domestic labour in the European Union, and begins to outline the challenges this poses to feminism, political theory and community organisations. At an empirical level it begins to map the employment of migrant women in domestic work in Europe, to describe the work they perform, their living and working conditions and their employment relations. At a theoretical level it is necessarily concerned with the inadequacy of conceptual tools designed to describe more "traditional" forms of employment (i.e. traditionally of concern to white male sociologists) or to describe the experience of "women" within the domestic sphere (i.e. the experience of white middle class women). The paid domestic worker, even when she does the same task as the wife/daughter/mother, is differently constructed, for she is expressing and reproducing the female employer's status by serving as her "foil". I argue that it is the worker's "personhood" rather than their labour power, which the employer is attempting to "buy". As well as labour cost and supply, racist stereotypes and the reproduction of such stereotypes are important in determining demand for domestic workers, and this results in a racist hierarchy which constructs some women as being particularly "suitable" for domestic work. Migrant domestic workers' relation to the state encourages and reinforces the racialisation of domestic work and personal dependence on employers. While the applying of employment contracts to domestic workers may seem to offer some way forward there are many difficulties associated with applying employment contracts to the private domain, both theoretically and in workers' real experiences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available