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A Global Approach to Paid Domestic Work and Social Inequalities

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DomEQUAL (A Global Approach to Paid Domestic Work and Social Inequalities)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-05-31

The project “DomEQUAL: A Global Approach to Paid Domestic Work and Global Inequalities” addressed 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 was 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 was 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 and with the support of nine country-experts (for 1 year) who provided statistical data and interview material from the countries under study. It was also supported by leading experts in this field of study who composed the project’s Advisory Board.
More information available on the project’s website:
The project lasted for 4 years and 9 months. All activities undertaken during this period were necessary to progress towards Milestones as set in the grant proposal, based on the following main actions:
Starting up: Sabrina Marchetti (PI) has hired the full Team (3 researchers, 9 country-experts and 1 research assistant, and 1 web-designer). She has also launched the DomEQUAL outreach communication platform (website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).
Data collection: Between June 2017 and March 2018, quali-quanti data have gathered by the country experts and forwarded to the PI on a rolling basis. Country-experts 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. During the same time, the PI and Core-team have visited the countries under investigation and participated in the Local workshops organized by the Country-experts. All data gathered has been transferred, archived and processed by complying with ethical principles for data protection as stated in Data Management Plan of the project.
Analysis and writing of results: After March 2018 and till the end of the project, the Core 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, with the support of 2 Research assistants. The analysis of interview material, in particular, was conducted by using the coding software Maxqda whilst statistical data where processed by using STATA.
Dissemination: During the entire project, the Team has paid particular attention in disseminating preliminary and final results mainly through:
- hosting events (Symposia, Local workshops and various seminars);
- publications and presentations of project results (conference papers, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books);
- out-reach communication (magazine articles, media interviews, book launches);
- writing short reports on the countries (on the DomEQUAL website)
- producing web-documentaries (based on interviews with researchers and domestic workers’ activists).
With this project, we expanded 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 did so 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 allowed us to assess which type of actor is most effective in improving the legal framework for paid domestic workers.
We also gathered data suitable 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, namely by discussing how gender, race, class, etc. differently interact depending on the context.
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