Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender
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Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender

Edited by Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts

This Handbook brings together leading interdisciplinary scholarship on the gendered nature of the international political economy. Spanning a wide range of theoretical traditions and empirical foci, it explores the multifaceted ways in which gender relations constitute and are shaped by global politico-economic processes. It further interrogates the gendered ideologies and discourses that underpin everyday practices from the local to the global. The chapters in this collection identify, analyse, critique and challenge gender-based inequalities, whilst also highlighting the intersectional nature of gendered oppressions in the contemporary world order.
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Chapter 29: Migrant and domestic and care workers: unfree labour, crises of social reproduction and the unsustainability of life under ‘vagabond capitalism’

Sedef Arat-Koç

Abstract

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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