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Migrant Domestic Workers in European Care Regimes


This research project explores parental strategies to reconcile new demands in work and care in conjunction with the increasing European demand for migrant domestic workers in three contrasting care regimes: the U.K. Sweden and Spain. Highlighting the shifting division of labour in the global political economy of care, the project investigates the ways migrant domestic care workers and their European employers negotiate such shifts. In particular, the study focuses on the ways cultural preferences and moral rationalities around child care interplay with gendered and radicalised power relations. Taking into account the agency of individuals constituting the so called "global care chain" of female employers and employees, the project also locates men's previously neglected relations to care - as parents and as partners of employers. Furthermore, the study adds a qualitative dimension to cross-disciplinary discussions around welfare state restructuring, feminisation of migration and privatisation of care. By means of semi-structured interviews, the project explores the everyday conditions and strategies of asymmetrically positioned agents in different national contexts. Thus, the project illuminates the ways in which cross-national social, political and economic processes are negotiated in contrasting local settings. For instance, the project investigates the co modification of care by comparing employers and employees' moral distinctions between care for love and care for money and their own boundaries for doable "dirty work" and sellable intimacy. By investigating such localised negotiations and conceptualised meanings of global shifts, the study adds new theoretical and empirical variables to the study of care regimes, migration and the global division of care work. The outputs of this project will include two conference presentations, one single authored, one joint authored journal article, seminars and new research proposals.

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Woodhouse Lane
United Kingdom

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