Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration, and Domestic Work

Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration, and Domestic Work


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Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration, and Domestic Work by Rhacel Parrenas, Rhacel Salazar Parrenas

Servants of Globalization is a poignant and often troubling study of migrant Filipina domestic workers who leave their own families behind to do the mothering and caretaking work of the global economy in countries throughout the world. It specifically focuses on the emergence of parallel lives among such workers in the cities of Rome and Los Angeles, two main destinations for Filipina migration.

The book is largely based on interviews with domestic workers, but the book also powerfully portrays the larger economic picture as domestic workers from developing countries increasingly come to perform the menial labor of the global economy. This is often done at great cost to the relations with their own split-apart families. The experiences of migrant Filipina domestic workers are also shown to entail a feeling of exclusion from their host society, a downward mobility from their professional jobs in the Philippines, and an encounter with both solidarity and competition from other migrant workers in their communities.

The author applies a new theoretical lens to the study of migration—the level of the subject, moving away from the two dominant theoretical models in migration literature, the macro and the intermediate. At the same time, she analyzes the three spatial terrains of the various institutions that migrant Filipina domestic workers inhabit—the local, the transnational, and the global. She draws upon the literature of international migration, sociology of the family, women’s work, and cultural studies to illustrate the reconfiguration of the family community and social identity in migration and globalization. The book shows how globalization not only propels the migration of Filipina domestic workers but also results in the formation of parallel realities among them in cities with greatly different contexts of reception.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804739214
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 04/01/2001
Edition description: 1
Pages: 309
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Women’s and Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

What People are Saying About This

Arlie Russell Hochschild

Brilliant and highly important....Parrenas explores the links between the labor supply in a poor country, the Philippines, and demand in two rich countries, the United States and Italy. But this time, the workers are women and their labor is mothering. These women often leave behind their own children in the care of relatives—or nannies—a story Parrenas recounts in poignant detail. You won't be able to get their stories out of your mind or heart. Nor should you. Read this book and pass it on.

Saskia Sassen

Parrenas brilliantly locates the condition of domestic workers in the broader framework of the international division of reproductive labor. In so doing, she adds a whole new dimension to the study of both servants and economic globalization.

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