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Title: Hosts and domestic workers : from maintaining social distance to creating intimacy between Sri Lankan migrants and Greek-Cypriots in Nicosa, Cyprus
Author: Belt, Mackenzie Paige
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 8248
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis addresses the relationship between Sri Lankan international domestic workers in Cyprus and their Cypriot hosts. It illustrates the diversity of their daily experiences and analyses their relationship through a conceptual framework of intimacy and distance. The ethnography reveals how symbolic violence is expressed through various means of intimacy and distance in the relationship between domestic workers and hosts from the macro-state level to the micro- level of personal interactions. Hosts are automatically situated in a more powerful position in the relationship and various factors reinforce their dominant positioning. Migrants are in a much less powerful position and utilise the few resources available to them to enhance their chances of 'success' abroad. Social networking is often the most accessible resource to develop migrants' opportunities abroad and has the capacity to contest hosts' authority. Cypriot hosts employ domestic workers to enhance their lifestyle and also to reflect their affluent social status among the larger host community. In the household, migrants are compelled to form intimate relationships with hosts, while hosts may utilise strategic forms of intimacy with migrants. In this way, hosts reinforce their power and authority over migrants through intimacy, while they simultaneously demand social distance from workers. In the public sphere, hosts degrade migrant identities, while these adverse associations disappear within hosts' households. Thus, migrants assume ambivalent positions in which their roles within the host family and society remain uncertain, insecure, and hesitant to define themselves. I conclude by arguing that this ambivalence between intimacy and social distance demonstrates the symbolic violence that migrants encounter from hosts. This tension in their relationship reflects hosts' more powerful positions and desire to retain that position, while migrants understand their lower positioning and 1utilise the resources available to them to improve their social positionings back home.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available