Edited by Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts
Chapter 29: Migrant and domestic and care workers: unfree labour, crises of social reproduction and the unsustainability of life under ‘vagabond capitalism’
In the 1970s and 1980s, discussions about domestic labour were central to feminist analysis and visions of liberation and equality. As domestic and care work have become partly commodified and internationalized, however, they have become closely associated with forms of unfree labour often as a result of specific forms of state intervention and regulation or lack thereof. The generalization and normalization of different forms of unfree labour among migrant domestic and care workers not only impact individual workers and their families negatively. They also have very serious implications for labour and gender relations, and generally for social structures and power relations. Drawing on studies from different countries, but also focusing specifically on Canadian immigration policies for temporary migrant workers, this chapter demonstrates how state policies, action and/or inaction contribute to creating conditions of unfreedom and active construction, condoning and/or reproduction of inequalities of gender and race.
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