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A Global Approach to Paid Domestic Work and Social Inequalities

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DomEQUAL (A Global Approach to Paid Domestic Work and Social Inequalities)

Reporting period: 2018-03-01 to 2019-08-31

The project “DomEQUAL: A Global Approach to Paid Domestic Work and Global Inequalities” sees paid domestic work as an important object of analysis for scholars who want to understand the impact of globalisation on the construction of social inequality across countries. In fact, the multidimensional transformations induced by globalisation, with increased global-local and transnational interactions, an intensification of international migration, reorganisations of social classes, the urbanisation of rural and indigenous populations, and changes in gender norms, lifestyles, household organisation and welfare regimes, have had a massive impact on the situation of domestic workers across countries.
The research is done through a comparison between the transformations in the situations of domestic workers in recent decades in the following countries: Spain, Italy and Germany in Europe; Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil in South America; and India, Philippines and Taiwan in Asia.
The project is carried out by the Principal Investigator and the Core Team (three post-doctoral researchers and two research assistant for 3 years) based at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice (Italy), with the support of nine country-experts (for 1 year) who will provide statistical data and interview material from the countries under study. It is also supported by leading experts in this field of study who compose the project’s Advisory Board.
"So far, all activities that have been undertaken were considered necessary to progress towards Milestones as set in the grant proposal.
During the first 4 months of the project, Sabrina Marchetti (PI) has worked alone towards the hiring of the Team and launching the DomEQUAL outreach communication platform (website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
Before the beginning of country-experts’ ethnographic work (June 2017), the research team based in Venice has finalized the background materials for its internal use, and the lists of requests for the collection of data to the country experts. These requests have been continuously updated on the basis of new research issues. Between June 2017 and March 2018, quali-quanti data have gathered by the country experts and forwarded to the PI on a rolling basis. They have also prepared a background overview and a timeline of laws and policy interventions on domestic workers in the country, detailed profiles of main actors, and a self-reflective assessment of the fieldwork experience and research outcomes. All data has been transferred, archived and processed by complying with ethical principles for data protection as stated in Data Management Plan of the project.
After March 2018, the activity of the Team based in Venice has mainly consisted in the analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data which was collected in the previous phase by the 9 country experts. The analysis of interview material, in particular, was conducted by using the coding software Maxqda whilst statistical data where processed by using STATA.
On the basis of this work, the PI and the other members of the team have published so far:
- the edited volume “Domestic Workers Speak”, London, Open Democracy, 2017 (edited by Sabrina Marchetti and Giulia Garofalo with Penelope Kyritsis) [open access]
- the article ""Global Rights and Local Struggles. The case of the ILO Convention n. 189 on domestic work."" Partecipazione e conflitto vol. 11, n. 3, pp. 717-742, authored by Sabrina Marchetti, Daniela Cherubini and Giulia Garofalo Geymonat
More publications are under preparation and will be published in 2020.
We have also published short reports about each country on the basis of the material sent us by the country experts on the project’s website.
Concerning dissemination, 3 Symposiums and various seminars have been held in Venice at the Hosting Institution, as well as 8 local workshops in Europe, Latin America and Asia with the participation of local scholars and the Country Experts (only missing activity is the workshop in India due to maternity leave of the local country-expert). Moreover, the PI went on a fieldtrip to each country under study, beside India. She was accompanied by one of the senior researchers in the case of Colombia, Ecuador, Taiwan, Philippines, and Spain.
Finally, the PI and other members of the Team have engaged in dissemination activity presenting preliminary results of the project in different venues and organizing seminars related to DomEQUAL’s research topics."
With this project, we are expanding the knowledge about the condition of paid domestic workers with a large comparison in terms of its geographical dimension (Europe, Asia, South America) and historical dimension (1950s-today). In so doing, we concentrated in particular on the socio-economic and the legal conditions of these workers.
We are doing so by applying a new concept from the debate on social movements – ‘strategic fields of action’ from Neil Fligstein – to the case of paid domestic workers for the first time. The “field of labour rights” is the one we choose for analysis of the interaction between different social actors, their actions and their strategies. This will allow assessment of which type of actor is most effective in improving the legal framework for paid domestic workers.
We are gathering data in order to preparing the ground for methodological experimentations which have been recommended in the field of ‘intersectionality’ but have never had the opportunity to be tested in such a large empirical comparative study. I am referring in particular to advances in statistical analysis (multi-level and multi-group methods) that analyse how gender, race, class, etc. differently interact depending on the context.
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