CALL FOR PAPERS
SPECIAL ISUE OF THE EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WOMEN’S STUDIES
EDITED BY HELMA LUTZ
With the return of domestic workers in European households, domestic work has again become a major issue in feminist debates. Today domestic workers - many from migrant backgrounds – can be found in households all over Europe working for the middle classes: families and single people, two-parent or single-parent households, young people and elders. Coming from a wide range of countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, these workers perform heterogeneous tasks, aptly summarized by Bridget Anderson (2000) as the three c’s: cleaning, cooking and caring.
Unlike the historical debate at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century which focused on class issues and was part of a general debate on women’s labour, current discussion is linked to the issue of migration and irregularity of status. While the employment of domestic workers in the bourgeois family was more or less taken for granted as a sign of status and social hierarchies between employers and employees, the re-introduction of domestic workers in households in democratic and equality oriented societies of the 21st century raises fresh questions about new forms of social inequality, the divide between productive and reproductive work and their respective allocation in the public and private sphere and about (the management of) differences between women coming together as employers and employees.
Shifting from a phenomenon based on differences of class and educational as well as regional (urban-rural) background in the historical context, domestic work today focuses on nationality and ethnicity as lines of division. Moreover, domestic work has become an important theme in the globalization debate; with a lack of care facilities in many European countries, domestic workers from abroad are increasingly employed as carers for children and the elderly. This development has been termed ‘care- drain’ (in comparison with the ‘brain-drain’ resulting from migration movements). Many sending countries in return welcome the remittances sent home by migrant workers, in some cases as a major part of national income.
In general, domestic work has become an important and challenging theme for feminist studies because of its link with gender equality, but also because it is located in the emotionally highly loaded private sphere and deals with issues of intimacy and identity. In addition, domestic work is now considered an important subject in transnational feminist debates, exploring differences and divisions among women.
This special issue welcomes contributions from a wide range of disciplines, including history, literature studies, economy, political and social sciences, as well as education, anthropology and law. We invite articles presenting the results of empirical studies as well theoretical papers, including work on the media and or literature representation of domestic worker(ers). Articles should critically engage in discussion of domestic work and its political implications.
All articles will be subject to the usual review process. Articles should be prepared according to the guidelines for submission in the back cover of the journal and at the worldwide web address: [http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalManuscript.aspx?pid=105543&sc=1]. Alternatively the Manual of Style is available on request from the address or email below. Articles should be sent to the Managing Editor of the journal by June 15th 2006
The European Journal of Women's Studies
Attn. Hazel Johnstone
Gender Institute/ LSE