WGS250H5 Chapter Notes -Domestica

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31 Mar 2012
Domestica- Pierrete Hondagneu-Sotelo
Domestic employees wish to establish firm boundaries around their work hours which
employers desire to remain more elastic
Employer flexibility clearly depends on round-the-clock domestic service
Employer’s schedules and needs mandate the services provided by live-in domestic labour
Nannies believe that many of their employers are bad parents- don’t provide child attention,
care, sense of attachment **bad parenting** (compare to black mothers); bad mothers, bad
parents, bad employers
Parents feel exhausted when they come home from work and they want their money’s
Various means of surveillance for nannies
oFew nannies complained about this but most agree that taking care of children is a
huge responsibility and the parents have a right to check on how their kids are taken
care of
Enforced isolation as a means of controlling live-in domestic workers
Raises in work duties without raises in pay- because most households no longer have
several servants handling different jobs, the one employee tends to be given all available
tasks and when the employees learn to manage their time efficiently that they create some
free time, employers think they have the right to add more responsibilities
Racial inequality increases likelihood that employers will require the same employee both to
care for children and taken care of housekeeping duties
Class, but more often race, nationality, and immigration status influence negotiations to
redefine the job, more readily enabling employees with relative privilege in one or more of
theses areas to circumscribe their job tasks
Nannies develop very strong ties of affection with the children they care for
oThese emotional attachments don’t remain “outside” the labour process, but are
often used by employers and employees to get what they want
Hired to do two jobs- caring and cleaning and employers and employees don’t always agree
on what comes first
Both parents and care providers may exploit emotional bond between nanny and the
children for their own benefit
parents expect less cleaning from their nannies due to concern over quality of care provided
for their children
By providing superior care, nannies sometimes get themselves lighter cleaning
Some nannies used concerns about the children’s safety as leverage to strengthen their
Employers want good, loving care for kids but they don’t want to lose their children’s
affection or feel displaced as parents; tend to become jealous if kids are more attached to
care giver
Emotional bonds between care providers and children may anchor nannies to less-than-
Latina nannies who had their own children back home become emotionally anchored to their
oFor nannies who are transnational mothers, the loving daily care that they cant give
their own children is channeled onto the employer’s children
Hierarchies of race, nationality, immigration status, class and age persist among nannies
oWrigley argues that employers who choose private nannies “similar” to themselves
with respect to race, language, culture not only pay them higher salaries but also
most liekley to concede authority to these “expert” care workers
attempt to establish their own authority as professional care providersMany nannies given
no instructions as to how to care for the children
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