Doméstica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence

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University of California Press, 2001 - Social Science - 284 pages
3 Reviews
"Hondagneu-Sotelo challenges the reader to rethink the organization of caring work, the roles of race and immigrant status in the structure of domestic work, the importance of regulations, and the need for legal and personal recognition of the rights and human dignity of each worker. This book is an important contribution to our understanding of work and family among immigrant Latina women and also among the families that employ them."--Bonnie Thornton Dill, author of "Across the Boundaries of Race and Class: An exploration of work and family among Black female Domestic Servants"
"Through brilliantly nuanced portraits of housekeepers and their employers, Hondagneu-Sotelo tells a neglected story of growing importance, spotlighting the relation of mistress to maid."--Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of "The Time Bind"
""Domestica" is a pathbreaking study. It opens our eyes to the hidden world of transnational care-work and calls on us to shape domestic and international policies that will bring basic principles of human rights and social justice into that world. Everyone who is concerned about care and equality should read it."--Lucie White, Professor, Harvard Law School
"Beautifully written, sensitive to "all" the nuances of the situation, and committed to the protection of our most vulnerable immigrants, "Domestica" has an important, poignant story to tell; one that will appeal to anyone interested in immigration and the way it is transforming America."--Roger Waldinger, author of "Still the Promised City?"
"This engaging book bristles with fresh insights into the working lives of immigrant house cleaners and nannies, living on the margins in the nation's capital of conspicuous consumption. Hondagneu-Sotelo beautifully exposes domestic workers' yearnings for respect and dignity."--Ruth Milkman, author of "Farewell to the Factory"
"I do not know of any other study that captures with such depth of detail and insight the relationship between domestic workers and their employers. This book will be indispensable to those trying to further our understanding of the relationship between class, gender and migration."--Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Princeton University
  

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Review: Doméstica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence

User Review  - Grace - Goodreads

I read this for a sociology class. Very interesting and insightful. Read full review

Review: Doméstica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence

User Review  - Sandy - Goodreads

Excellent view on (primarily Latina) domestic workers in Los Angeles and nationwide. Wonderful cross-section of discussion around race and class. The book does get a bit repetitive, however, so some skimming is advised. Read full review

Contents

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Copyright

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Page 17 - First, as many observers have noted, globalization has promoted higher rates of immigration. The expansion of US private investment and trade; the opening of US multinational assembly plants (employing mostly women) along the US-Mexico border and in Caribbean and Central American nations, facilitated by government legislative efforts such as the Border Industrialization Program, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative; the spreading influence of US mass media;...
Page 20 - Nations use vastly different methods to "import" domestic workers from other countries. Some countries have developed highly regulated, government-operated, contract labor programs that have institutionalized both the recruitment and working conditions of migrant domestic workers. Canada and Hong Kong exemplify this approach. Since 1981 the Canadian federal government has formally recruited thousands of women to work as live-in nanny/housekeepers for Canadian families. Most come from third world...
Page 249 - Racial-ethnic women are employed to do the heavy, dirty, "back-room" chores of cooking and serving food in restaurants and cafeterias, cleaning rooms in hotels and office buildings, and caring for the elderly and ill in hospitals and nursing homes, including cleaning rooms, making beds, changing bed pans, and preparing food. In these same settings white women are disproportionately employed as lower-level professionals (eg, nurses and social workers), technicians, and administrative support workers...
Page 262 - These women are struggling to make ends meet and keep their families together. They are proud hard workers who are doing their darndest to stay off the welfare rolls and are getting precious little help for their efforts. Let's provide some help for those who are trying to help themselves
Page 51 - ... States through coercive systems of labor that do not recognize family rights. As Bonnie Thornton Dill (1988), Evelyn Nakano Glenn (1986), and others have pointed out, slavery and contract labor systems were organized to maximize economic productivity and offered few supports to sustain family life. The job characteristics of paid domestic work, especially live-in work, virtually impose transnational motherhood for many Mexican and Central American women who have children of their own. The ties...
Page 25 - Since the early 1980s, thousands of Central American women, and increasing numbers of Mexican women, have migrated to the United States in search of jobs, many of them leaving their children behind with grandmothers, with other female kin, with the children's fathers, and sometimes with paid caregivers. In some cases the separation of time and distance are substantial; ten years may elapse before women are reunited with their children.
Page 32 - ... premises, their space, like their time, belongs to another. The sensation of being among others while remaining invisible, unknown and apart, of never being able to leave the margins, makes many live-in employees sad, lonely, and depressed. Melancholy sets in and doesn't necessarily lift on the weekends. Rules and regulations may extend around the clock. Some employers restrict the ability of their live-in employees to receive telephone calls, entertain friends, attend evening ESL classes, or...
Page 18 - Latina immigrants and their children, won at the polls; and although its denial of all public education and of publicly funded health care was ruled unconstitutional by the courts, the vote helped usher in new federal legislation. In 1996 federal welfare reform, particularly the Immigration Reform Act and Individual Responsibility Act (IRAIRA), codified the legal and social disenfranchisement of legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants. At the same time, language — and in particular...
Page 197 - ... centuries of tradition. It has been suggested that it was during the nineteenth century that Europeans began to consider their servants as non-persons.4 Clearly invisibility was a desirable quality in an American domestic by the late nineteenth century. Writing about this period, David Katzman states: One peculiar and most degrading aspect of domestic service was the requisite of invisibility. The ideal servant as servant (as opposed to servant as a status symbol for the employer) would be invisible...
Page 51 - Contemporary transnational motherhood continues a long historical legacy of people of color being incorporated into the United States through coercive systems of labor that do not recognize family rights. As Bonnie Thornton Dill (1988), Evelyn Nakano Glenn (1986), and others have pointed out, slavery and contract labor systems were organized to maximize economic productivity and offered few supports to sustain family life.

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About the author (2001)

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo is Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Gendered Transitions: Mexican Experiences of Immigration (California, 1994) and coeditor of Challenging Fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latino Lives in the U.S. (1997) and Gender through the Prism of Difference: Readings on Sex and Gender (2000).

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