Towards a Global History of Domestic and Caregiving Workers
Edited by Dirk Hoerder, Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk and Silke Neunsinger
Leiden: Brill 2015
568 pages, ISBN 978-90-04-29329-8 (paperback)

The volume is published in co-operation with the International Conference of Labour and Social History (ITH) and arose out of the 49th ITH Conference “Towards a Global History of Domestic Workers and Caregivers”, held in Linz, 12–15 September 2013.

Domestic and caregiving work has been at the core of human existence throughout history. Poorly paid or even unpaid, this work has been assigned to women in most societes and occasionally to men often as enslaved, indentures, “adopted” workers. Societies and states set the discriminatory rules, those employed develop strategies of resistance or self-protection (Part One). While some use domestic service as training for their own future independent households, others are confined to it for life and try to avoid damage to their identities (Part Two). Employment conditions are even worse in colonizer-colonized dichotomies, in which the subalternized have to run the households of administrators who believe they are running an empire (Part Three). A team of international scholars addresses these issues globally with a deep historical background.


Domestic Workers of the World: Histories of Domestic Work as Global Labor History
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Silke Neunsinger and Dirk Hoerder

Historians, Social Scientists, Servants and Domestic Workers: Fifty Years of Research on Domestic and Care Work
Raffaella Sarti

Historical Perspectives on Domestic and Care-Giving Workers’ Migrations: A Global Approach
Dirk Hoerder

PART 1: Combining Work and Emotions: Strategies, Agency, Self-Assertion

Introduction: Combining Work and Emotions: Strategies, Agency, Self-Assertion
Dirk Hoerder

Slovenian Domestic Workers in Italy: A Borderlands Care Chain over Time
Majda Hrženjak

Ties that Bind: Localizing the Occupational Motivations that Drive Non-Union Affiliated Domestic Workers in Salvador, Brazil
Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman and Jaira J. Harrington

Maid-of-all-Work or Professional Nanny? The Changing Character of Domestic Work in Polish Households, Eighteenth Century to the Present
Marta Kindler and Anna Kordasiewicz

Mutual Emotional Relations in Caregiving Work at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century: Vietnamese Families and Czech Nannies-Grandmothers
Adéla Souralová

Making the Personal Political: The First Domestic Workers’ Strike in Pune, Maharashtra

Ambivalence of Return Home: Revaluating Transnational Trajectories of Filipina Live-In Domestic Workers and Caregivers in Toronto from 1970 to 2010
Yukari Takai with Mary Gene De Guzman

PART 2: Domestic Work in the Colonial Context: Race, Color, and Power in the Household

Introduction: Domestic Work in the Colonial Context: Race, Color, and Power in the Household
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk

Slavery, Servility, Service: The Cape of Good Hope, the Natal Colony, and the Witwatersrand, 1652-1914
Shireen Ally

The Servant Problem: African Servants the Making of European Domesticity in Colonial Tanganyika
Robyn Allyce Pariser

Imperial Divisions of Labor: Chinese Servants and Racial Reproduction in the White Settler Societies of California and the Anglophone Pacific, 1870-1907
Andrew Urban

“The Matter of Wages Does not Seem to be Material”: Native American Domestic Workers’ Wages under the Outing System in the United States, 1880s-1930s
Victoria K. Haskins

Who’s in Charge, The Government, the Mistress, or the Maid? Tracing the History of Domestic Workers in Southeast Asia
Bela Kashyap

Migrant Domestic Work through the Lens of “Coloniality”: Narratives from Eritrean Afro-Surinamese Women
Sabrina Marchetti

PART 3: From Servitude to Domestic Service: The Role of International Bodies, States and Elites for the Changing Conditions in Domestic Work between the 19th and 20th Century

From Servitude to Domestic Service: The Role of International Bodies, States and Elites for Changing Conditions in Domestic Work Between the 19th and 20th Centuries. An Introduction
Silke Neunsinger

Reconfiguring Household Slavery in Twentieth Century Fes, Morocco
R. David Goodman

Child Slavery, Sex Trafficking or Domestic Work? The League of Nations and Its Analysis of the Mui Tsai System
Magaly Rodríguez García

Domestic work in Cyprus, 1925-1955: Motivations, Working Conditions and the Colonial Legal Framework
Dimitris Kalantzopoulos

Employing Migrant Domestic Workers in Urban Yemen: A New Form of Social Distinction
Marina de Regt

What is “Domestic Service” Anyway? Producing Household Labourers in Austria (1918–1938)
Jessica Richter

“The Problem of Domestic Service in Chile, 1924-1952”
Elizabeth Quay Hutchison

Decent Work for Domestics: Feminist Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and the ILO
Eileen Boris and Jennifer N. Fish