Servants of Globalization
Women, Migration, and Domestic Work
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas
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.Link to this book