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Dust and Dignity: Domestic Employment in Contemporary Ecuador

Dust and Dignity: Domestic Employment in Contemporary Ecuador


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on September 15, 2019


What makes domestic work a bad job, even after efforts to formalize and improve working conditions? Erynn Masi de Casanova's case study, based partly on collaborative research conducted with Ecuador's pioneer domestic workers' organization, examines three reasons for persistent exploitation. First, the tasks of social reproduction are devalued. Second, informal work arrangements escape regulation. And third, unequal class relations are built into this type of employment. Accessible to advocates and policymakers as well as academics, this book provides both theoretical discussions about domestic work and concrete ideas for improving women's lives.

Drawing on workers' stories of lucha, trabajo, and sacrificio—struggle, work, and sacrifice—Dust and Dignity offers a new take on an old occupation. From the intimate experience of being a body out of place in an employer's home, to the common work histories of Ecuadorian women in different cities, to the possibilities for radical collective action at the national level, Casanova shows how and why women do this stigmatized and precarious work and how they resist exploitation in the search for dignified employment. From these searing stories of workers' lives, Dust and Dignity identifies patterns in domestic workers' experiences that will be helpful in understanding the situation of workers elsewhere and offers possible solutions for promoting and ensuring workers' rights that have relevance far beyond Ecuador.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501739460
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 09/15/2019
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Erynn Masi de Casanova is Professor of Sociology at the University of Cincinnati. She is author of Making Up the Difference (available in Spanish as Vendiendo Belleza) winner of the National Women's Studies Association's Sara A. Whaley Book Prize.

What People are Saying About This

Marty Chen

"This well-researched and well-written book makes an important contribution to the understanding of the work, struggles and sacrifice of working poor women, not just paid domestic workers and not just in Ecuador. In presenting and analyzing the findings of her grounded research in this compelling book, Casanova provides insightful answers to the two questions she sought to answer: why domestic work is particularly bad work and what can be done to improve the working conditions of domestic workers or create pathways out of domestic work."

Eileen Boris

"Erynn Masi de Casanova's astute analysis of private household workers in Guayaquil, Ecuador is a terrific study, and will find a ready audience among scholars of domestic labor, Latin America, labor studies, and sociology."