Gendered and racialised constructions of work in bureaucratised care services in Italy
Title: Gendered and racialised constructions of work in bureaucratised care services in Italy
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2014/123; Global Governance Programme-147; Cultural Pluralism
Scholarship on migrant care work argued that we need to broaden our understanding of the international division of reproductive labour by incorporating into the analysis other agents of social reproduction besides the household such as the non-profit sector, the market and the State. In response to these debates, the article focuses on migrant labour within the bureaucratised care sector, by comparing Latin American and Eastern European women employed in social cooperatives proving home-based elderly care services in Italy. Ethnographic data are used to show how both the workers and the cooperatives’ managers negotiate racialised and gendered constructions of care work and skill. We argue that the dominant gendered and racialised perceptions of paid care as non-skilled ‘feminine’ work, which are at play in private employment, are activated in specific ways in the bureaucratised sector too. Bureaucratised care thus comes into sight as being in strong continuity with the traditional forms of care work, as far as the social construction of the job is concerned. However, it does represent a general improvement for migrant workers in so far as it allows them to achieve better living and working conditions if compared to live-in domestic service.
Subject: Care work; Migration; Gender; Eastern Europeans; Latin Americans
Type of Access: openAccess