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Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “The ‘Hidden Side’ of the New Economy: On Transnational Migration, Domestic Work, and Unprecedented Intimacy”

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

“The ‘Hidden Side’ of the New Economy: On Transnational Migration, Domestic Work, and Unprecedented Intimacy

Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez

Frontiers, vol. 28, no. 3, 2007


Migration is a topic that occupies the front page of every newspaper in Europe today. As one of the constantly reiterated items in television news, it engages politicians as well as scholars. In times of globalization, migration is viewed both as a cause and a consequence of the intensive exchange of commodities, goods, and capital across national borders. This phenomenon is, however, not new. After all, during colonial times,1 migratory movements occurred that were, as Kien Nghi Ha stresses, at least “bidirectional” and tied to complex relations of power.2 Today, traces of colonialism inform the patterns, modes, and cultural narratives of migration. Transnational migration has evolved in a global setting marked by postcolonial cultural, economic, and political relationships, as well as by new forms of imperial power. Within this historical context and global conjuncture I would like to discuss the “hidden side” of the new economy: care and domestic work. As Eleonore Kofman and Parvati Raghuram3 note with reference to Arlie Russell Hochschild,4 care and domestic work (and I also would suggest sex work) form part of global-gendered inequalities which “are transferred along chains of care, with care provided by Third World women in households in affluent societies.”5

It is this latter mostly feminized and deregularized work that I focus on in this essay. This discussion draws on a comparative study done with colleagues in Spain, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom (UK) on migration, gender, and domestic work in Western Europe.6 In our project we opted for a Participatory Action Research (PAR) method.7 We conducted “openended interviews” and conversations.8 As we drew from Maria Mies’s work,9 we saw our method as a generator of knowledge enriched by diverse points of view.10 This knowledge arose in an educational process empowering all those involved to change themselves, their relationships with each other, and their society.11 However, as I have observed elsewhere, academic and political work with “undocumented migrants” is always affected by the fact that those conducting this work have citizenship rights and access to representation, unlike those being worked with.12

Based on our study, I discuss how domestic work is highly regulated through European Union (EU) migration policies, which constrain the social mobility of migrant women, and how paid care and domestic work structure interpersonal relationships between those who pay for and those do this work in private households. Bearing this in mind, why should we look more closely at the relationship between private households and domestic work? First, we need to do this to see that postcolonialism influences care and domestic work in private households within a society marked by the globalizing effects of migration and border regimes.13 Second, it is also important to recognize that emotions and affect are important aspects of paid domestic work. Keeping this in mind, I will engage the tension between the public sphere of migration policies and their impact on the local and private level of the household, as well as on the level of affective bonds.

For the rest of the paper, I will attend to these issues by placing the development of the care and domestic sector in the contexts of (a) a postcolonial conjuncture and (b) EU migration policies and their local implementation. I will then focus on the development of the care and domestic work sector and its connection to transnational migration in the last decade before looking at the regulation of domestic work in four European countries: Spain, Germany, Austria, and the UK. My reflection on the space of unprecedented intimacy within reproductive work using excerpts of interviews conducted with migrant domestic workers in Germany will follow. I will conclude with some thoughts on citizenship, workers’ rights, and intersectionality. Let us move now to looking at Europe’s postcolonial conjunctures.

Europe’s postcolonial conjunctures

The uneven relationship between former European colonial powers and their former colonies remains, even though this relationship has been modified by struggles for and processes of independence and national liberation. This process of political independence, coupled with cultural and economic dependence, characterized the “postindependence” societies of former colonized countries.14 This continuation of colonial rule after political independence has been characterized as “postcolonial.” Here the prefix “post” does not refer to the defeat of colonial dependencies. Rather, it emphasizes the continuing centrality of Europe in the new constellation of global power and its place in neocolonial modes of production and capitalist accumulation. As well as naming a historical conjuncture, a postcolonial perspective on transnational migration also serves as a theoretical framework for understanding processes of “othering,” technologies of representation, and logics of racism. However, when applied to Western Europe, this perspective is limited unless it is connected with an analysis of the specific historical, economic, social, and cultural conjunctures of individual nation-states and their asylum and migration policies.

In Germany, a postcolonial perspective on labor migration can clarify some aspects of the construction of the ethnicized and racialized “Other,” while also obfuscating other legacies in its sociopolitical history. Germany’s official colonial history lasted from 1883 to 1919, but it has left its traces in the construction of the Other. Although brief, this colonial history needs to be considered in relation to the Holocaust, which also determined Germany’s relationship to the ethnicized and racialized Other. Further, Germany’s guest-worker programs of the 1960s need to be analyzed in relation to the Zwangarbeit program of Fremdarbeiter in the Third Reich to understand how some aspects of this latter logic were at play in the guest worker program.15

In Spain, colonial legacies affect immigration, particularly from North Africa and Latin America. Until the 1980s Spain was predominantly an emigration state. It formulated its first immigration policies in 1985, and until that time Latin Americans could immigrate to Spain without a visa.16 To date, Spain’s migration policies are influenced by former colonial relationships with Latin America, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Morocco. For instance, in the second half of the 1990s Spain developed special agreements with Latin American states, such as Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, to centralize its recruitment of their citizens as migrant workers. Citizens of former colonies, with the exception of Morocco, have access to Spanish citizenship after residing in Spain for two years. The special treatment of Morocco in terms of political negotiations, and the discursive representation of Moroccan citizens as Others in the media, reveals traces of the colonial relationship between Spain and Morocco.17 However, Spanish immigration is not only characterized by a postcolonial flow from former colonies. In the past five years, immigrants from West Africa and Eastern Europe have also entered Spain.

In the UK, Fordist migration is linked to postwar reconstruction and anticolonial and independence movements in its colonies in the 1950s.18 Here, the term “postcolonial migrant” refers mainly to those who arrived from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s. For my purposes, the concept of transnationality has become more significant because of its connection to a colonial past. In the post-1945 Fordist era, different European nation-states established recruitment policies like the Gastarbeiter program in Germany, but today a single nation-state’s influence on the issue of migration is decreasing. Instead, migration policies are part of a reorganization of both world politics and transnational formations like the EU.

EU asylum and migration policies

The relationship between transnational migration and the labor market is marked by policies on admission, settlement, and citizenship. The Europeanization of asylum and migration policies is still being implemented on a national scale, which leaves some options for EU nation-states regarding the regulation and implementation of certain measures. For example, Spain implemented a national program of regulation, Ley de regularización, in January 2005, providing individual contracts based on the demand of employers for designated workers. Germany also implemented its first law on the right of immigration, Zuwanderungsgesetz, thereby recruiting foreign workers based on the demand from certain sectors of the economy. At the same time, both countries have increased their budgets for border control and provisions for refugee internment camps. These two developments reflect the primary goals of the EU: (a) to open up the labor market for migrant workers, if the demographic and economic need is shown; and (b) to increase control of European borders and intensify the regulations for entry into the EU.19

The Tampere Summit of 1999 established the three pillars of European common immigration policy. The first pillar for the management of migration was based on two needs: member states’ demand for regulated migration and stronger control of migration. On this basis there is a differentiation between “legal” and “illegal” immigration within the EU, which grants legal immigrants regulated citizenship and places illegal immigrants in the space of “naked life,” with no citizenship, refugee, or migrant rights. Regulation and control have, therefore, set the basis for the distinction between legal and illegal immigration and the differential statuses attached to these categories.

This policy of regulation and control was reinforced at the Seville Summit of 2002 through the “Plan against Illegal Immigration,” which proposed collaboration in determining the level of economic aid to the countries of origin and transit of non-EU migrants as part of the struggle against illegal immigration. 20 In this plan, the EU’s Spanish presidency developed the idea of sanctioning the countries of origin and the transit of non-EU migrants by withdrawing development aid from them. Although this proposal has not been approved, the EU is including “countries of persecution” and “transit” in its security program.21 The discursive connection between security and migration since September 11, 2001, became evident in Seville in the degree of coordination between policing and migration policies that sought to facilitate and homogenize deportation and internment regulations. In sum, asylum and migration policies are characterized by stricter conditions for entry into the EU, increased procedures for the recognition of asylum, imprisonment of so-called “illegal migrants,” increased deportations, decreased social benefits for asylum seekers, and restricted possibilities for family reunification. The EU’s general migration policy has led to all member states’ involvement in regulating migration according to national labor needs while taking action against illegal immigration.

In Spain, the successive modifications of the Foreigners’ Law LO 4/2000 (through LO 8/2000, LO 11/2003, and LO 14/2003) have also established an immigration policy designed according to the demographic, labor, and economic needs of the destination country.22 These laws promote the creation of annual quotas of foreigners to fill the jobs least desired by the local population. After the terrorist attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004, the Social Democrats gained the majority in the elections. In January 2005 Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s Social Democrat government introduced the “law of regularization,” which enabled employers to “regularize undocumented workers” in their companies.23 This law has not markedly changed the position of migrant women recruited into the labor market. Since 1991 domestic work in Spain has been regulated through the cupo system.24

The UK has established specific systems of employment for immigrants (e.g., Seasonal Agricultural Scheme, Sector Based Scheme, or Working Holidaymakers Scheme), which are used by migrants with permits.25 The Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Law of 2002 emphasized border security, combated the illegal employment of undocumented migrants, human trafficking, and fraud, and underlined the importance of nationality in relation to citizenship. Since the London underground and bus attacks on July 7, 2005, the British government has been discussing the need for rigid regulation of work and residence permits for non-EU migrants. In addition, the number of deportations and internment camps for refugees and “illegal” immigrants has rapidly increased. According to Hsiao-Hung Pai,26 there has been an increase in immigrant workers in the 3-D jobs (dirty, dangerous, and degrading) in the UK. The UK food processing, electronic manufacturing, catering, cleaning, hospitality, and health industries are increasingly recruiting migrant workers. The unsafe and exploitative conditions of undocumented migrant workers became a public issue in February 2004, when twenty Chinese cockle pickers drowned in Morecambe Bay. This event was followed by a public debate in the media in which demands were made for the regulation of “gangmasters,” and immigration raids by police were suggested as solutions to the problem of human trafficking.

In Austria, migration policy is also determined by the demands of the labor market, both formal and informal, as is reflected in an immigration law that establishes two categories of immigrants. In one category are EU citizens and refugees with the right to demand exile in Austria (these immigrants have more rights), and in the other category are generally non-Europeans who depend upon visa and labor laws (a quota system) that are very strictly controlled, especially since January 2003.27

Domestic workers and the global labor market

The organization of labor in postindustrial economies implies not only new modes of production (collective productive units, and networks and flows), products (information, communication, symbols, creativity, and affect), and conditions of work (precariousness, deregulation, flexibility, and mobility), but also the recruitment of migrant workers. Workers are recruited for highly skilled jobs in the communication, information, and cultural industries and for “trivial and dirty work” in the submerged and precarious informal private sector of care, domestic, and sex work.28

Care and domestic work in private households is now the largest employment sector for migrant women entering the EU. The majority of these workers are undocumented.29 They arrived as refugees, for family reunification, or with a tourist visa, thereby losing their legal status because of restrictive asylum and migration laws. Through community, family, and friendship networks they entered the employment market and began working in private households. Private households represent, at first glance, a chance for undocumented migrant workers to make a living. On the other hand, in the privacy of the household, with its nonregularized status, undocumented migrant workers may encounter semi-feudal structures of exploitation and, in some cases, sexual violence.

In the 1990s, Dominican women were the largest group of domestic workers in Spain. Recently, Romanian, Polish, and Ecuadorian women have joined this group. However, because of the new law, Ley de regularización, access to a work contract depends on the good will of the employer. The new law also requires the recognition of minimal workers’ rights, such as a minimum wage and social benefits. However, legalization means higher costs overall, so not all employers make legalization a priority. Thus, the majority of domestic workers are unregistered. Acceptance of this situation is structured through the constraints of immigration policies, because as undocumented migrants or non-EU nationals their access to the labor market is restricted through racist mechanisms. In this sense, there is a difference between those who are regularized and those who are not. Migrants who have recently entered Spain and do not have their documents regularized tend to concentrate in live-in domestic service, while migrants who have regularized their situation enter domestic service (as external workers), food service, agriculture, or sex work (although this last sector is not legally recognized as work in Spain). Most Spanish women reject live-in domestic service because of its poor labor conditions. The existence of a “substitute” female migrant population with no other job alternatives has encouraged a situation in which the salaries and the social value of this job remain extremely low. It costs the same to hire someone as a live-in as it does to hire an external worker, but employers consider the live-in to be available at all hours. The domestic service sector is subject to a regulation regime that establishes a very low level of protection. A written contract is only obligatory when the job exceeds eighty hours a month. Thus the contract may be informal or verbal, leading to many abuses by employers. Ultimately, without a written contract the migrant woman remains illegal.30

In the UK domestic workers can enter the country only if they enter with their employers. They receive a six-month permit with the possibility of an extension if their employer is in the UK as a visitor. If the employee changes employers, she must advise the Home Office, explaining in detail the reasons for the change. Only after four years as a domestic worker in the UK will she have the right to apply for permanent residence. This makes domestic workers extremely dependent on their employers. Kalayaan, the London-based support group for domestic workers, has condemned such dependency. It reported four thousand cases of mistreatment of domestic workers in 1998.31 In this same year Kalayaan, in partnership with the self-help group Waling Waling, the church, trade unions, and solidarity organizations, succeeded in regularizing a small number of domestic workers irrespective of their employers’ demands. This was done on a case-by-case basis with the Home Office. However, the success in individual cases did not lead to a general recognition of domestic workers as “autonomous workers.” Bridget Anderson considers this campaign to have had limited political success, partly because of the social conditions of care and domestic work.32 Most women are employed under precarious conditions that are difficult to regulate; thus abuses still continue.33 The UK needs to draw attention to the class and ethnic background of domestic workers and the regional differences in terms of the workforce.34

During the 1990s, international research considered domestic workers to be “pioneers of globalized economic relationships.”35 Canadian scholars Abigail Bakan and Daiva Stasiulis noted that domestic workers in the era of globalization are not only supposed to do the work of “domestic helpers,” but are also expected to have specialized skills, such as speaking different languages, and to be educated in the care and arrangement of households.36 For example, some households in Canada demand Philippine women who have worked in Hong Kong and undergone training as domestic workers. Also, studies on domestic workers in Europe show that a high percentage of domestic workers from Eastern Europe have a degree in higher education.37 This is also the case for the group of migrant women that Bridget Anderson interviewed in her study on domestic work in Western Europe. Anderson states that the recruitment of domestic workers is not based solely on a family’s needs to outsource the housework. Employing domestic workers also provides social distinction.
Thus, to have a domestic worker not only gives women or the family more time for things that they enjoy but also marks employers as middle or upper class.38 Sabine Hess encountered a similar situation in Germany in which employers received distinction by hiring au pairs from Eastern Europe.39

The creation of transatlantic networks and the building of companies in the deregularized labor market demarcates two aspects of transnationality. As Ninna Nyberg Sörensen’s study of domestic workers from the Dominican Republic working in Madrid and New York demonstrates,40 these women operate in a “new global migration space.”41 In this transnational space, economic, communicative, and mental transatlantic networks are built. These networks confront and undermine restrictive border controls and racist exclusion policies by inventing new itineraries. In response to the ethnicization, racism, and sexism that rule their everyday lives, these women create new spaces of agency and recognition, as shown in my previous study on migrant female intellectuals in Germany.42 I revealed that even though the women experience upward social mobility through education, they still encounter professional disqualification because of the migration policies and racism, so that they have to actively negotiate the labor market and communal and affective ties to find a position they can call their own. These are also features demonstrated in our study on domestic and care work in Europe.43

The relationship between domestic work in the privacy of the household and the regulation of public space through migration policies makes the private household the center of the public sphere. As Bridget Anderson notes,44 domestic work is a site for the reproduction of social relationships, in which moments of intimacy and affect are created and exchanged.45 This web of affective bonds is in itself structured by EU migration policies. In sum, for non-EU female migrants, entry into the labor market is severely curtailed. They experience a devaluation of their education and professional experiences and are channeled into particular work areas such as the domestic and care sector. We will look more closely at this process, using Germany as an example.
68 frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

The German case

In the 1920s Germany recruited Polish immigrants for the mining sector under a Wanderarbeiter program.46 During the Third Reich, the forced use of foreign workers was commonplace. Thus, Germany already had a history of immigration policies before the first bilateral agreement on the recruitment of a foreign labor force with Italy in 1955. Nonetheless, the Fordist immigration policy connected to the Marshall Plan was a specific measure built into the project of rebuilding the German economy. Although the Marshall Plan did not directly mandate importing a foreign labor force, migrant labor was necessary for the realization of its economic aims. Germany could have never been a “player” in global capitalism without importing workers from the Mediterranean. By 1973, when the German government stopped recruiting migrant workers, 2.6 million immigrants had lived in Germany for at least ten years. At the same time, family reunification programs had been initiated. By 1996 Germany was “home” to seven million ausländer, that is, “foreigners.”

The Law of Immigration, Zuwanderungsgesetz, was introduced in January 2005 and was clearly dictated by Germany’s economic interests. It introduced a new guest workers’ regime based on a point system by recruiting only a certain number of migrant workers, particularly high-skilled workers, for a limited time. This law has created new categories of migrant workers. It differentiates between high-skilled specialists with guaranteed permanent permission to remain, workers with a limited work permit, people whose permission to remain will be unlimited or limited for political or humanitarian reasons, and people who for various reasons do not have legal status.

As I have noted, the demand for domestic workers is increasing, as is the migration of women from non-European countries by means of au pair programs, transit contracts, and tourist visas in Western Europe. Other women arrive in Germany through the “family reunification scheme,” and in the first two years they are dependent on their husbands, for divorce would therefore mean loss of residency rights. Women who await recognition as political refugees are not allowed to work for a year. All of these women, along with migrant women that came through the guest worker programs in the 1960s and some German women, predominantly from Eastern Germany, share employment in the care and domestic work sector.

Women with tourist visas do not receive permission to work and, if employment is discovered, they risk expulsion, deportation, and a restriction on travel to any of the countries covered by the Schengen Treaty. Nonetheless, a variety of networks exists for recruiting workers, for example, through the community, kinship, informal, and friendship networks or the local press in their countries of origin. The effects of racism and exclusionary migration and asylum policies mark the domestic workers’ life conditions. Further, they are not protected by union membership in terms of essential workers’ rights or by civil society with regard to their human rights. The permanent fear of deportation creates a situation of constant threat and persecution, making political alliances a difficult task.47

More recent studies done by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and activists on domestic work, gender, and transnational migration focus on the concrete work conditions of domestic workers, revealing interesting figures on, and aspects of, domestic work.48 In 2000, a report on undocumented domestic workers by the NGO Zentrale Integrierte Anlaufstelle für PendlerInnen aus Osteuropa stated that two types of services differentiate the German domestic work sector: the housekeeper service, which is regulated full- or part-time employment, and domestic work, which is mostly nonregularized cleaning jobs. These latter jobs are based on two-to three-hour shifts, one to three times per week. Housekeepers work on the basis of social security benefits and appear in official statistics as registered domestic workers. Germany reported a total of 38,000 registered workers in 2000.49 The German Institute of Economic Research estimated that a domestic worker is employed in 4.3 million households. 50 A typical documented domestic worker earns seven to ten euros per hour, while an undocumented domestic worker earns five euros or less per hour. The incomes vary in relation to nationality because of the stereotypes associated with certain nationalities, and also because of the longstanding history of migration in the country. For example, a migrant woman from Bulgaria earns fifteen euros per day in comparison to a woman from Poland, who would earns five euros per hour. This wage differential is related to the fact that Polish migration to Germany is a longstanding one, while Bulgarian migration is more recent.51 Bulgarian women experience a high degree of insecurity and vulnerability, for example, to sexual assault or nonpayment of wages. Under these repressive and precarious work conditions, a majority of the women, as Susanne Schultz puts it, have a “patchwork” of employers and work duties. In these different environments, domestic labor involves not only keeping the house clean and the children neat, but emotional reproduction (the work of caring for the emotional well-being of others).52

Affective bonds and biopolitics

In what follows I will present some excerpts from our research on Germany as I look at affective bonds and biopolitics.53 In our study we observed that one of the major skills demanded and used in care and domestic work involves emotion and affect. This makes us question the term “domestic work,” because it limits the significance of the range and dimension of the work actually carried out. As the collective Precarias a la Deriva notes, this work needs to be considered in a continuum of productive and reproductive work and in its connection with care work.54 For example, Ms. Castro, one of our research participants in Germany, highlighted the ambivalent nature of domestic work. She reported that she was in charge of the care of the child, which created an emotional bond that was not recognized by the parents. Even though she was the child’s companion, she was not allowed to discuss the child’s welfare with the parents. These situations reduced her position to that of a child-minder, powerless to intervene positively on the child’s behalf. She told us: “And therefore I decided that I will never work with children again. Because the children, you do see so much in them, the children and you. You feel sorry for the children, and you can’t do anything. So you are not the mother, you are not the father, nothing. You are only the house keeper or child-minder and that was it.”

Ms. Castro’s care work is reduced here to a mere mechanical task. The emotional and affective bonds established between the caregiver and the child are limited to the contractual obligation to look after the child but in fact extend to caring for the child. The family displays here the general societal attitude toward care work as inferior and unrecognized. The reproductive value of care work as a contributor to the upbringing and emotional growth of a human being is not perceived. Care work needs to be considered on a biopolitical level, as a socially significant moment in the reproduction of life, which is made invisible when we negate the affective bonds of care and domestic work. Ms. Fernandez, another care and domestic worker that participated in our research, told us that her employers made her feel worthless and like a ghost not worthy of the ordinary civilities of life, a “thank you,” or a “please”: “then this invisibility, you feel totally invisible and also completely worthless because there . . . is no thank you, no please, no, “there you are again,” or something, but, yes, . . . one is a ghost.”

The physical, societal, and political invisibility linked to care and domestic work is a function of the character and the location of the work, as it is done in privacy and isolation. The paradoxical character of domestic work as being both a structural necessity and an arena of social exclusion becomes apparent in relation to migration policies. In the context of social power relations, the institutionalized and structural side of discrimination becomes evident, and is exemplified by the limited access of migrants to the labor market. From this perspective we also perceive the racist and sexist day-to-day mechanisms that shape the texture of care and domestic work. Ms. Vatu describes this in terms of her knowledge that domestic work is about being used and simultaneously feeling useless because of racialization in terms of one’s color or foreigner status: “And, I mean, imagine how you feel, it’s just like-you feel like being used. You feel like being useless, you know. And, I don’t know. Maybe because we are Africans or we are black, I don’t know, but it’s not only blacks who are doing this job. So many people, I mean so many foreigners are doing these kinds of jobs. And, I don’t know, if they are encountering the same experience I have encountered. I feel very bad and I don’t feel like doing the household cleaning again.”

Care or domestic workers in private households often experience tension in relation to their contradictory and unwanted positioning as anonymous but also as intimates in the household. This intimate anonymity is instantiated, for example, through a perfunctory note on the kitchen table or by never seeing the employer after the introductory chat. On the other hand, Ms. Perez, one of our research participants, describes how a very close and almost intimate relationship with her employer produced a particular dependence for her that was not only financial in nature. She “simply couldn’t leave” her aging employer.
This unprecedented intimacy arises also because domestic workers clean all the rooms in the home, and that includes making the bed, dusting decorative items that may be intimate and touching other personal objects, and clearing up things all over the home. As Ms. Fernandez told us: “But however, so these things to unpack them all and clean them, that was it for me, for me it was actually a closeness to a person who I actually do not know and who can actually do it himself, . . . and I couldn’t understand how somebody-so close yeah, allows someone to come, without knowing the person and without actually needing it. I find that totally absurd, that is this activity that is part of it.”

The research participants made us think about the role of intimacy in care and domestic work. Although the relationship to the employers is professional, their subjective and affective capacities and competences are demanded and consumed. Care and domestic work are based on emotional work and in every stroke of the duster, cooked meal, washing machine load, made bed and picked-up child, an enormous intensity of life is invested and produced. This production of life forms a fundamental site of Antonio Negri’s notion of biopolitics. 55 For him,

One must be clear about the concept of biopolitics. It literally means the intertwining of power and life. The fact that power has chosen to place its imprint upon life itself, to make life its privileged surface of inscription, is not new: it is what Foucault called “biopower.” . . . But resistance to biopower exists. To say that life resists power means that it affirms its own power, which is to say its capacity for creation, invention, production, subjectivation. This is what we call “biopolitical”: the resistance of life to power, from within-inside this power, which has besieged life.”56

Negri relates here to the old Greek term “bios” to express the fusion between life and work. In reference to Karl Marx’s notion of labor as productive and reproductive work, we need to consider care and domestic work as sites of biopolitics, as women are involved in resisting the power of life to make them other than they know themselves to be (migration and asylum policies, racism, sexism and class position, for example).

While employers look for domestic workers, it quickly becomes evident that these workers are people, and not just a labor force. Nevertheless, at the time of payment, employers believe that they have absolute rights over the labor power of the employee. Disrespectful treatment, the exceeding of personal limits, and the belief that one can take everything away from the care and domestic worker are therefore common scenarios. This absolute domination by employers is expressed in their behavior toward employees, something that Ms. Vatu vehemently criticized when she directly addressed her employer: “So if, I mean I’ll just say to the employers out there, if they could just change that kind of attitude that the person who is coming here is suffering or the person who is coming here, she has to be a slave because we are paying her.”

At this point, Ms. Vatu stressed that even domestic workers have a “background” and skills that are not known or inquired about by the employer. This is important to note, because these skills are not recognized in Europe; therefore the chances of finding a job in a different profession in which they have already been trained or with their qualifications are absolutely minimal. Toward the end of her employment, Ms. Vatu finally told her employer something that she should have said some time before: “Please, employers, when you are employing somebody, just know that this person has also got a background. Maybe more, they are better than yours, I mean being here in Europe, it’s not really that I’m . . . I’m suffering, or like I’m so desperate, or at all that I’m pobre (poor), or I have, I mean I am poor, or anything, I’m not rich or poor but I’m a human being as you are. And, we all need to live a normal life and I mean all the . . . the people in the world-people have to respect people who are cleaning for them, because you couldn’t do it. Ask yourself why.”

The question Mrs. Vatu would like her employers to ask themselves-“why?”-does not just address the need for a tidy household but examines the need for an asymmetrical relationship in which the domestic worker is subjugated. The question is thus: why is domestic work linked to the dehumanization of those who work to ensure that others have agreeable surroundings for living and recreating life? Of course, private households are emblematic of the social divisions that rule society. Private households mirror gender relations, heteronormativity, and racist classification systems, and are the main sites for the production and reproduction of value. Private households are the loci in which domestic labor is articulated through cultural practices, thereby showing the different geopolitical and social positions of the actors involved in it.
The production, distribution, and consumption of domestic work are culturally enacted and articulate the social antagonisms in which it is produced.

In view of the social dimension of care and domestic work, some domestic workers in Germany demand that the term Putzfrau (cleaner) should be changed, because it reduces their activities to the pure act of cleaning. Our interviews show that work in a private household covers different dimensions of emotion, affect, communication, and interaction. Domestic work is determined by different social structures, which encompass the realms of the psychic and the social simultaneously. A domestic worker can play the role, for example, of a psychologist, a consultant, a teacher, a priest, or an educator.
How care and domestic work is evaluated and what this implies on the social level are questions that need closer examination. Care and domestic work are still key issues in the organization of gender relations and reflect at the same time the reproduction of society (as it is skilled work).

Skilling the unskilled and workers’ rights

In this sense, care and domestic work are expressions of social relations. If care and domestic work were actually recognized as highly skilled activities, it would question the overall evaluation of such work as a constituent of the exchange relationship between the genders and also between paid and unpaid work. As Eleonore Kofman notes,57 the analysis of “unskilled female migrants in global cities” working in sweatshops, in the home, and in the informal sector reinforces the hegemonic perception of migrant women as unskilled workers. 58 This objectification of migrant women as unskilled workers represents a common stereotype in the literature on transnational migration. Furthermore, this academic representation is guided by a colonial gaze, through which migrant women are also the objects of Orientalist and misogynist value systems.
The notion of “unskilled” reflects the biased perception in society of care and domestic work as inferior work, emptied of social and cultural value.
Studies such as Bridget Anderson’s59 on domestic work and Laura Agustin’s60 on sex workers show that given the diversity of skills and abilities such work demands, we could consider both endeavors highly skilled trades. Anderson and Agustin show that the job of a domestic or sex worker entails psychological, educational, intercultural, and technical skills, and demands time management, flexibility, and mobility.

Following these observations, the term “unskilled workers” seems to introduce a hegemonic view by reaffirming the existing organization and division of work along the lines of “race,” ethnicity, sexuality, class, and gender. This systematic devaluation of the professional and educational backgrounds within the EU of women from southern continents and Eastern Europe is elided in the category of unskilled female migrant. This represents a process of social inequality that needs to be examined in more depth to understand why a specific group of women in a particular geographical and political setting find themselves in the lowest level of the employment market.

To now evoke the term “female skilled migrants” is to delineate a strategic approach in the politically contested field of gender, work, and professionalization. I do not intend to reaffirm the social divisions in the labor market and the division between what Marx used to call “Kopf-und Handarbeit” (head- and handwork). My attempt is rather to open the space to reveal the intellectual, creative, cultural, and political work done by women in the context of migration, diaspora, and exile, as I tried to show in my earlier work on intellectual female migrants.61 It is from this angle that I approach the field of care and domestic work as a constitutive element in the production and reproduction of the social. The invisibility and lack of political power linked to care and domestic work is related to its character and location as work done in the isolation of private households within a context of racism, sexism, and exclusion that textures workers’ experiences.

In sum, domestic work reveals the different layers and interactional dynamics in which it is socially embedded. Thus, interestingly, the domestic worker is party to an unprecedented intimacy that she has not chosen. While the middle- or upper-class, mostly white household does not form part of her everyday life, which is economically and politically precarious, she is firmly part of theirs. She becomes a key referent. Under these work conditions, the “good soul” of the household, earning at best eight euros an hour, becomes the “nanny,” the “good friend,” the “permanent companion” that could be replaced, if she starts to determine the conditions of work-the psychic, the social, and the “dirty work.” Of course, considering these dimensions, the term “domestic work” sounds too insignificant for such holistic work, which the Spanish feminist group Precarias a la Deriva chooses to call trabajo de cuidados (that is, “care work”).62 The Spanish term cuidados emphasizes the relational, healing, and caring aspect of reproductive work. This is work that seems to be invisible, and as such its products seem to be immaterial, for it contributes to the well-being and regeneration of the individual. This is a different kind of immaterial work than that which Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt describe as “symbolic, conceptual and creative work” engaged in producing immaterial goods such as information, knowledge, and affect.63 For Hardt and Negri, immaterial work forms one of the main characteristics of new capitalist production in the era of information and virtuality. Care and domestic work are mentioned in Hardt and Negri only as a side effect. What these authors have forgotten is that care and domestic work are still at the center of society, forming the foundation for thinking and analyzing affective work. Furthermore, the low status of domestic service has to do with differences in class, ethnicity, origin, and citizenship status.

Citizenship, workers’ rights, and intersectionality

The interrelation of migration regime, heteronormativity, and unequal gender relationships creates a situation in which non-European immigrants and racialized women are found at the lowest levels of the labor market, although above those non-European immigrants and racialized women who do not have their residency and work documentation in order. In Spain, Germany, Austria, and the UK, many of these women are in a situation of legal irregularity. Permanent fear of expulsion increases their acceptance of poor treatment in employment and the thresholds of exploitation that women with irregular status find themselves obliged to accept.64 The recognition of the fundamental rights of immigrants in the four countries goes hand in hand with immigrants’ legal status and their status as workers, a quasi-citizenship linked to a work contract. The regulation of resident permits linked to work permits is problematic in the case of immigrants working in domestic service, given that domestic work is poorly regulated, and even where it is regulated, there is no established means of controlling it in practice. Domestic service, like other jobs performed by immigrants in the EU, is precarious, unstable, temporary, and depends on the goodwill of the employer. In this sense, linking an immigrant’s legal status in a given country to his or her work situation creates a precarious and uncertain life context. Furthermore, the new labor policies on migration will foster the ethnicization of the economy and strengthen the gendering of the unskilled labor market, having an impact not only on migrant women, but also on the private households in which these women work as domestic workers.

Despite restrictions and efforts to control migration, the demand for migrant workers is growing. This development is bound to the emergence of the “hidden side” of the new economy-that is, the expansion of the private service sector, particularly gastronomy; cleaning; construction and agricultural work; transport, travel, and leisure services; and care, domestic, and sex work. Flexibility, precariousness, low salaries, and lack of safety characterize the conditions of work in these jobs. This situation worsens in the case of undocumented migrant workers because they cannot defend their rights, and unions do not represent them. Although domestic work has been on the agenda of feminist groups, migrant organizations, domestic workers, and advocacy organizations since the 1970s, these networks often battle against ambivalence. Within the EU, such networks have worked on multilevel strategies to improve the living and work conditions of domestic workers and have succeeded in attracting the attention of politicians. At the same time, however, the political regulation of this field has narrowed the mobility and the access of non-EU nationals to the European labor market.65

In all four countries domestic service and care work are increasingly being done by a non-national and female work force. The legal status of these women leaves little space for converting their preexisting educational and professional skills and qualifications into the social capital needed for insertion into the formal labor market. In our study, two-thirds of the women we interviewed had a secondary school education and one-fifth of them a university degree. Latin American women’s degrees are not recognized in Spain, the UK, Austria, or Germany. Getting a student visa for some women represents the only way to reside, for example, in Germany and Austria. In other countries, such as Spain and the UK, one may obtain a residency permit through a work contract. In Germany and Austria tourist visas allow some women to work in private households and commute between neighboring countries, such as a Polish migrant woman living in the areas bordering Germany. Migration policies have an immense effect on migrant women’s lives and work conditions. To approach this fact on the basis of women’s and human rights, we need an approach that takes into consideration the interconnectedness between gender, ethnicity, race, class, and sexuality.

Margaret Satterthwaite66 suggests an intersectional67 approach to human rights laws that considers the complexity of the social constituency of the law and its subjectivities.68 An intersectional approach focuses on processes of discrimination instead of invoking identities: “Intersectionality allows analysts to move beyond debates over the ontological “essence” of the myriad identity categories used by individuals, communities, and states. . . . This transcendence is especially important when examining identities that cross borders, since the conditions that construct and impact on those identities are likely to vary a great deal in different settings.”69

Satterthwaite suggests that an intersectional approach in relation to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (Migrant Workers Convention), which came into force on July 1, 2003, will reveal a wide range of rights protections in countries that have not ratified the Migrant Workers Convention.
Thus, “intersectionality emphasizes society’s responses to variously situated individuals and groups rather than their characteristics.”70 We can, therefore, situate the following suggestions for political and social change in the interests of migrant care and domestic workers within this context:

Recognition of care and domestic work as essential work

Granting of workers’ rights independently of legal status

Strengthening of rights information and conflict resolution skills

Civil rights for care and domestic workers, prostitutes, and cleaning and nursing personnel

Recognition of the UNO Convention No. 158 of December 18, 1990 (International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families)

Development of a social climate in Europe that examines and is open to the welfare of immigrants Educational and professional promotion for migrants, particularly women

These transformations are important because, as we know only too well, a residency permit alone will not change discrimination as long the exclusionary policies toward immigrants persist in the EU, and in Germany in particular. As Patricia Caro of Mujeres Sin Rostro, a Berlin undocumented women’s migrant group, put it:

Besides, these papers are just papers, you’ve just said it [referring to researcher] and what would they give you, they could give you a status, but if you don’t speak German probably they won’t give you a thing, maybe they give you tolerance and this keeps you up for three months, a year. No-what we would like to have is recognition. We are an important part of the labor market in this country and we would like to be recognized as workers. We would like the Union to represent us. We would like to be represented in a big organization such as the Union that should value our rights.


1. The relationship between colonial powers and colonized countries, including the removal and enslavement of indigenous populations, undoubtedly left its mark on the administrative structures and cultures of colonized countries. Colonialism also influenced the organization of labor, especially employment relations.

2. Kien Nghi Ha, “Die kolonialen Muster deutscher Arbeitsmigrationspolitik,” in Spricht die Subalterne Deutsch? Migration und postkoloniale Kritik, ed. Hito Steyerl and Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Münster: Unrast, 2003), 56-107, at 65.

3. Eleonore Kofman and Parvati Raghuram, “An Introduction from the Guest Editors, “Feminist Review 77 (2004): 4-6; Arlie Russell Hochschild, “Global Care Chains and Emotional Surplus Value,” in On the Edge: Living with Global Capitalism, ed. W. Hutton and Anthony Giddens, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 130-146, at 138.

4. Hochschild, “Global Care Chains.”

5. Kofman and Raghuram, “An Introduction,” 5.

6. The research was conducted in Spain, Germany, Austria, and the UK. Here, I discuss the German research. The German team’s interviews and conversations were conducted by Macarena Gonzalez Ulloa, Efthimia Panagiotidis, Nina Schultz, and me. The excerpts presented in this article form part of the interviews and conversations I conducted. All the research participants gave their consent for this research and authorized the use of the material within the agreed ethical parameters. In each country we conducted twenty-five interviews and held ten focus groups. See also Luzenir Caixeta, Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Shirley Tate, and Cristina Vega Solís, Homes, Care, and Borders-Hogares, Cuidados y Fronteras (Madrid: Cruz Roja. 2004).

7. In PAR the research participants as well as the researcher are agents of knowledge and active agents of change in the communities with which they work. Adopting PAR meant that as researchers we had to be aware that we were in a more powerful position, even though we saw the research participants as co-researchers. The women we contacted to tell us about their everyday experiences as care and domestic workers were non-European migrant women, some of them without papers. In the case of the employers, we conducted interviews with middle-class, white citizen households.

8. The method of “open-ended interviews” engaged the idea of producing a narrative. The German team’s interviews with the participants were led in our case by three questions intended to evoke memories, anecdotes, and impressions. The German team asked the research participants three questions. The first addressed their memories when they arrived in Germany, the second their impressions of Germany, and the third how they imagined their future. The interviews were open-ended and were not restricted to a time limit.

9. See Maria Mies, “Towards a Methodology for Feminist Research,” in Theories of Women’s Studies, ed. Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli Klein, (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983), 117-139.

10. The team for the here-mentioned research project was composed of members of different nationalities (European, Jamaican, Argentinean, and Brazilian). The majority of the researchers had a migration background. For example, the German team had only one researcher who was a “white” German citizen, while the other researchers were from Chile, Greece, and Spain. The UK team’s leading researcher had a Jamaican background, the Austrian team’s leading researcher had a Brazilian background, and the Spanish team’s two members had a Latin American background.

11. Our goal was to make care and domestic workers’ strategies of agency and resistance visible. Furthermore, we saw our research as a way of supporting their social and political infrastructure through sharing information about access to public funding, safety, and social resources with them.

12. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “‘We Need Your Support, but the Struggle is Primarily Ours’: On Representation, Migration and the Sans Papiers Movement, ESF Paris, 12th-15th November 2003” Feminist Review 77 (2004): 152-156.

13. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Gouvernementalität und die Ethnisierung des Sozialen. Migration, Arbeit und Biopolitik,” in Gouvernementalität. Ein sozialwissenschaftliches Konzept in Anschluss and Foucault, ed. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez and Marianne Pieper (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2003), 75-89.

14. Gayatri C. Spivak discusses how this paradox occurred in India, which, although politically independent from Britain, still had an economy and educational and cultural systems reminiscent of the British Empire. Robert Young, “Neocolonialism and the Secret Agent of Knowledge: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak” Oxford Literary Review 13, nos. 1-2 (1991): 220-251.

15. Hans-Ulrich Ludewig, “Zwangsarbeit im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Forschungsstand und Ergebnisse regionaler und lokaler Fallstudien,” Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 31 (1991):558-577; Ulrich Herbert, Geschichte der Ausländerpolitik in Deutschland. Saisonarbeit, Zwangsarbeiter, Gastarbeiter, Flüchtlinge (Münster: C. H. Beck. 2001), 9ff.

16. Sandra Gil Araújo, “Las migraciones en las políticas de la fortaleza. Sobre las múltiples fronteras de la Europa comunitaria,” Memoria: Revista Mensual de Política y Cultura 168 (2003): 20-35.

17. For example, the representation of the Moroccan and Latin American communities on television and in the mainstream cinema very often follows racist stereotypes that eroticize, exoticize, criminalize, or demonize the Other. See also Isabel Santaolalla, “Los ‘Otros’: Etnicidad y ‘raza’ en el cine español contemporáreneo,” (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitaria de Zaragoza, 2005).

18. The term “Fordist” characterized the immigration to Western Europe in the 1950s and 1960s from Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal), Turkey and North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria), Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India) and the Caribbean. This migration was influenced by a new phase of capitalist accumulation characterized by mass production and mass consumption. The term “Fordism” was coined about 1910 to describe Henry Ford’s success in the U.S. automobile industry. Ford improved mass production methods and developed the assembly line. These economic policies were introduced to post-1945 European societies such as Germany. In Britain and France related migratory movements began during the wars of independence in the former British and French colonies in the late 1940s and mid-1950s. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Das postkoloniale Europa dekonstruieren.
Zu Prekarisierung, Migration und Arbeit in der EU,” Widerspruch 48 (2005): 71-83.

19. The Treaty of Amsterdam was implemented on May 1, 1999. It led to the development of a common asylum and migration policy and harmonized the legal systems and foreign policies of the signatory EU states. This policy was initiated by the Treaty of Maastricht, in which the EU agreed to implement interstate agreements for immigration and asylum policies, which fostered cooperation between the legal system and the police as well as the visa system. These treaties are the outcome of the Schengen Treaty, signed in 1990 by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. This established both the free movement of people between these countries and strengthened control of the European border. This led to two different developments, on the one side to the free movement of EU citizens within the EU (as they have access to the labor market in the different EU countries), and on the other side to both restricted entry to the EU and restricted access to the labor market for non-EU citizens.
The European border has experienced in the last decade increasing militarization. In the last summit of the European Ministers of Inner Affairs in Luxemburg (April 19-21, 2007), the EU agreed to establish the European Agency of Borders (Frontex). Frontex is in charge of developing a European Border Patrol. In this summit some of the members agreed to contribute, with 116 military ships, 21 airplanes, and 27 helicopters to patrol the borders of the EU from Africa to Eastern Europe (El Pais: “116 barcos, 21 aviones y 27 helicópteros para fronteras, “El Pais, no. 10.906 (2007): 2).
The Treaty of Amsterdam strengthened these migration policies, as did the introduction of the EURODAC agreement after September 11, 2001, which sought to compare the genetic data of refugees, implement new visa requirements in 130 countries, and strengthen the power to prosecute airlines and other transportation companies.
Furthermore, the EU has attempted to create a common definition of refugee status and regularize family reunification. The concept of family that is revoked here is that of the nuclear heterosexual family, although we can perceive some exceptional changes in some EU countries, such as Germany (2000) and Spain (2005), due to the introduction of the civil registration for same-sex couples (see http://www.ilga-europe.org/europe
/issues/marriage_and_partnership/same_sex_marriage_and_partnership_country_by_country). In this case same-sex couples can join their partners in these EU countries, if they are registered as a civil partnership. However, the age for the reunification of children has been limited to twelve years. See also Karl Kopp, Asyl (Hamburg: Rotbuch, 2002).

20. Paco Torres, “La sanción del giro autoritario. Inmigración y Cumbre de Sevilla.” Página Abierta 128 (2002): 8-10.

21. Kopp, Asyl, 6.

22. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care and Borders, 84.

23. SOS Racismo, “De una mala ley no puede salir un buen Reglamento.” MUGAK 29 (2004): 4-9.

24. The Spanish government implemented three major regularization programs (popularly known as CUPO or Contingente) in 1991, 1996, and 1999, resulting in the provision of legal work and residence permits for a significant number of formerly undocumented workers. Residence permits have been renewed annually. With the conclusion of these regularization programs, all foreigners needed working permits to hold jobs or could face deportation. In accordance with the 1991 CUPO, employment of foreign workers is allowed only in household and agricultural services. In 1993, up to 20,000 work permits a year were allocated to workers from non European countries for work in private households and agriculture. At the beginning, only Filipinas, Dominicans, and Peruvians were given work permits. However, in response to protests this restriction was been withdrawn. See also Susanne Schultz, “Domestic Slavery oder Green Card? Feministische Strategien zu bezahlter Arbeit,” iz3w 257 (2001): 7-15.

25. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care and Borders, 84.

26. Hsiao-Hung Pai, “An Ethnography of Global Labour Migration,” Feminist Review 77 (2004): 129-131.

27. The immigration policies have been reinforced by the law from January 2003 that makes it obligatory for all immigrants seeking a resident or work permit to take German language classes for one hundred hours and sit an official exam. If an immigrant fails the exam, he or she is required to take another one hundred hours of classes, at his/her own expense. If someone fails the exam for a second time, he/she is liable to pay a €200 fine and, furthermore, after four years his/her residence permit will be revoked. Caixeta et al, Homes, Care, and Borders, 84.

28. Saskia Sassen, Globalization and Its Discontents (New York: University Press of Columbia, 1998), 81-110; Saskia Sassen, “Global Cities and Survival Circuits,” in Global Woman, ed. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie R. Hochschild (London: Penguin, 2002), 42-59; Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders, 80-82.

29. Bridget Anderson and Annie Phizacklea, “Migrant Domestic Workers: A European Perspective,” in Report for the Equal Opportunities Unit, DGV, ed. Commission of the European Community (Brussels: Commission of the European Community, 1997), 1-55.

30. SOS Racismo, “De una mala ley no puede salir un buen Reglamento,” 5.

31. RESPECT European Network of Migrant Domestic Workers, SOLIDAR and KALAYAAN. Taking Liberties (Brussel: Solidar, 1998).

32. Bridget Anderson, “The Devil Is in the Detail: Lessons to be Drawn from the UK’s Recent Exercise in Regularising Undocumented Workers in Europe,” in Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, ed. Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (Brussel/Leuven: Katholikeke Universiteit. 2004), 89-101.

33. See Anderson’s “The Devil Is in the Detail” for more details.

34. In southern England, a considerable number of recent immigrants from West Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe have been incorporated into the care and domestic work sector. In contrast, in the north of England the women working in this sector are postcolonial Commonwealth immigrants, their descendants, and poor white women. See also Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders.

35. Helma Lutz, Ethnizität. Profession. Geschlecht. (Münster: Universitätspublikation. 2003), 1-42.

36. Abigail Bakan and Daiva Stasiulis, “Making the Match: Domestic Placement Agencies and the Racialization of Women’s Household Work, “Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 20, no. 2 (1995): 303-335, at 311-312.

37. Bridget Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour (London: Zed Publishers, 2000); Lutz, Ethnizität; Sabine Hess, “Feminized Transnational Spaces-Or the Interplay of Gender and Nation, “Anthropology Yearbook on European Cultures (AYAC) 14 (2005): 227-246; Caixeta et. al, Homes, Care, and Borders, 85.

38. Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work? 20.

39. Hess, “Feminized Transnational Spaces,” 228.

40. Ninna Nyberg Sørensen, “Mobile Lebensführung zwischen der Dominikanischen Republik, New York und Madrid,” in Migrationen: Lateinamerika, Analysen und Berichte
23 (Bad Honnef: Bad Honnef Publications, 1999), 16-38.

41. Annie Phizacklea, “Transnationalism, Gender and Global Workers,” in Crossing Borders and Shifting Boundaries, ed. Umut Erel, Mirjana Morokvašic´, and Kyoto Shinozaki (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 2003), 79-100, at 80.

42. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Intellektuelle Migrantinnen-Subjektivitäten im Zeitalter von Globalisierung (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1999); Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Grenzen der Performativität: Zur konstitutiven Verschränkung von Ethnizität, Geschlecht, Sexualität und Klasse, “in Kultur-Analysen, ed. Jörg Huber (Zürich: Reihe Interventionen, 2001), 45-78.

43. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders, 98-108.

44. Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work? 20.

45. Precarias a la Deriva, A la Deriva: Por los circuitos de la precariedad femenina (Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 2004), 47-75; Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Das postkoloniale Europa dekonstruieren. Zu Prekarisierung, Migration und Arbeit in der EU,” Widerspruch 48 (2005): 24-39.

46. Klaus J. Bade, Europa in Bewegung: Migration vom späten 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart (Münster: C. H. Beck. 2002).

47. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders, 83-86.

48. Renate Heubach, “Migrantinnen in der Haushaltsarbeit-Ansätze zur Verbesserung ihrer sozialen und rechtlichen Situation,” in Weltmarkt Privathaushalt, ed. Claudia Gather and Maria S. Rerrich Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2002), 75-86.

49. Renate Heubach, Migrantinnen aus Mittel-und Osteuropa in ungeschützten Arbeitsverhältnisse (Berlin: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, 2001), available at http://www.rosalux.de/cms/index.php?id=3953&0 (accessed December 20, 2006).

50. Schultz, “Domestic Slavery oder Green Card?” 10.

51. Recent migrant communities need to organize their infrastructure and establish themselves in relation to established migrant communities. This affects information dissemination and wage negotiation.

52. Schultz, “Domestic Slavery oder Green Card?” 10.

53. The names of the research participants have been changed to honor their wish to remain anonymous.

54. Precarias a la Deriva, A la Deriva, 68-70.

55. Antonio Negri. Negri on Negri, in conversation with Anne Dufourmantelle (New York: Routledge, 2003); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).

56. Negri, Negri on Negri, 64.

57. Eleonore Kofman, “The Invisibility of Female Migrants and Gender Relations in Studies of Skilled Migration in Europe,” International Journal of Population Geography 6, no.1 (2000): 45-59.

58. Kofman, “The Invisibility of Female Migrants,” 46.

59. Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work?

60. Laura Agustin, Trabajar en la industria del sexo, y otros tópicos migratorios (Donostia-San Sebastian: Gakoa Liburuak, 2002).

61. Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Intellektuelle Migrantinnen-Subjektivitäten im Zeitalter von Globalisierung, 77-87.

62. Precarias a la Deriva, A la Deriva, 61.

63. Hardt and Negri, Empire; Hardt and Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, 108, 110-11.

64. Caixeta et al, Homes, Care and Borders, 86.

65. Helen Schwenken, “‘Domestic Slavery’ versus ‘rights’: Political Mobilizations of Migrant Domestic Workers in the European Union,” Working Paper 116, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (2005): 1-26.

66. Margaret Satterthwaite, “Women Migrants’ Rights under International Human Rights Law,” Feminist Review 77 (2004): 167-171.

67. The intersectional approach has been introduced into legal studies by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 4 (1991): 1241-1256.

68. Satterthwaite, “Women Migrants’ Rights,” 168.

69. Ibid.

70. Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2000, as cited in Satterthwaite, “Women Migrants’ Rights,” 168.

  1. Nani
    January 31, 2011 at 6:14 am

    For further reading: Migration, Domestic Work and Affect. A Decolonial Approach on Value and the Feminization of Labour by E. Gutierrez Rodriguez (Routledge, 2010).

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