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The "Hidden Side" of the New Economy: On Transnational Migration,

Domestic Work, and Unprecedented Intimacy

Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Volume 28, Number 3, 2007,

pp. 60-83 (Article)

Published by University of Nebraska Press

For additional information about this article

Access provided by Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana (19 May 2014 13:11 GMT)
The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy
On Transnational Migration, Domestic Work, and Unprecedented Intimacy

encarnación gutiérrez rodríguez

Migration is a topic that occupies the front page of every newspaper in Europe
today. As one of the constantly reiterated items in television news, it engages
politicians as well as scholars. In times of globalization, migration is viewed
both as a cause and a consequence of the intensive exchange of commodi-
ties, goods, and capital across national borders. This phenomenon is, however,
not new. After all, during colonial times,1 migratory movements occurred that
were, as Kien Nghi Ha stresses, at least “bidirectional” and tied to complex
relations of power.2 Today, traces of colonialism inform the patterns, modes,
and cultural narratives of migration. Transnational migration has evolved in
a global setting marked by postcolonial cultural, economic, and political rela-
tionships, as well as by new forms of imperial power. Within this historical
context and global conjuncture I would like to discuss the “hidden side” of
the new economy: care and domestic work. As Eleonore Kofman and Parvati
Raghuram3 note with reference to Arlie Russell Hochschild,4 care and domes-
tic work (and I also would suggest sex work) form part of global-gendered
inequalities which “are transferred along chains of care, with care provided by
Third World women in households in affluent societies.”5
It is this latter mostly feminized and deregularized work that I focus on
in this essay. This discussion draws on a comparative study done with col-
leagues in Spain, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom (UK) on migra-
tion, gender, and domestic work in Western Europe.6 In our project we opted
for a Participatory Action Research (PAR) method.7 We conducted “open-
ended interviews” and conversations.8 As we drew from Maria Mies’s work,9
we saw our method as a generator of knowledge enriched by diverse points of
view.10 This knowledge arose in an educational process empowering all those
involved to change themselves, their relationships with each other, and their

60  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

society.11 However, as I have observed elsewhere, academic and political work
with “undocumented migrants” is always affected by the fact that those con-
ducting this work have citizenship rights and access to representation, unlike
those being worked with.12
Based on our study, I discuss how domestic work is highly regulated through
European Union (EU) migration policies, which constrain the social mobil-
ity of migrant women, and how paid care and domestic work structure inter-
personal relationships between those who pay for and those do this work in
private households. Bearing this in mind, why should we look more closely
at the relationship between private households and domestic work? First, we
need to do this to see that postcolonialism influences care and domestic work
in private households within a society marked by the globalizing effects of
migration and border regimes.13 Second, it is also important to recognize that
emotions and affect are important aspects of paid domestic work. Keeping this
in mind, I will engage the tension between the public sphere of migration poli-
cies and their impact on the local and private level of the household, as well as
on the level of affective bonds.
For the rest of the paper, I will attend to these issues by placing the devel-
opment of the care and domestic sector in the contexts of (a) a postcolonial
conjuncture and (b) EU migration policies and their local implementation. I
will then focus on the development of the care and domestic work sector and
its connection to transnational migration in the last decade before looking at
the regulation of domestic work in four European countries: Spain, Germany,
Austria, and the UK. My reflection on the space of unprecedented intimacy
within reproductive work using excerpts of interviews conducted with migrant
domestic workers in Germany will follow. I will conclude with some thoughts
on citizenship, workers’ rights, and intersectionality. Let us move now to look-
ing at Europe’s postcolonial conjunctures.

europe’s postcolonial conjunctures

The uneven relationship between former European colonial powers and their
former colonies remains, even though this relationship has been modified by
struggles for and processes of independence and national liberation. This pro-
cess of political independence, coupled with cultural and economic depen-
dence, characterized the “postindependence” societies of former colonized
countries.14 This continuation of colonial rule after political independence
has been characterized as “postcolonial.” Here the prefix “post” does not refer
to the defeat of colonial dependencies. Rather, it emphasizes the continuing
centrality of Europe in the new constellation of global power and its place

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 61

in neocolonial modes of production and capitalist accumulation. As well as
naming a historical conjuncture, a postcolonial perspective on transnational
migration also serves as a theoretical framework for understanding processes
of “othering,” technologies of representation, and logics of racism. However,
when applied to Western Europe, this perspective is limited unless it is con-
nected with an analysis of the specific historical, economic, social, and cul-
tural conjunctures of individual nation-states and their asylum and migration
In Germany, a postcolonial perspective on labor migration can clarify some
aspects of the construction of the ethnicized and racialized “Other,” while also
obfuscating other legacies in its sociopolitical history. Germany’s official colo-
nial history lasted from 1883 to 1919, but it has left its traces in the construc-
tion of the Other. Although brief, this colonial history needs to be considered
in relation to the Holocaust, which also determined Germany’s relationship
to the ethnicized and racialized Other. Further, Germany’s guest-worker pro-
grams of the 1960s need to be analyzed in relation to the Zwangarbeit program
of Fremdarbeiter in the Third Reich to understand how some aspects of this
latter logic were at play in the guest worker program.15
In Spain, colonial legacies affect immigration, particularly from North
Africa and Latin America. Until the 1980s Spain was predominantly an emi-
gration state. It formulated its first immigration policies in 1985, and until
that time Latin Americans could immigrate to Spain without a visa.16 To date,
Spain’s migration policies are influenced by former colonial relationships with
Latin America, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Morocco. For instance,
in the second half of the 1990s Spain developed special agreements with Latin
American states, such as Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, to centralize
its recruitment of their citizens as migrant workers. Citizens of former colo-
nies, with the exception of Morocco, have access to Spanish citizenship after
residing in Spain for two years. The special treatment of Morocco in terms
of political negotiations, and the discursive representation of Moroccan citi-
zens as Others in the media, reveals traces of the colonial relationship between
Spain and Morocco.17 However, Spanish immigration is not only characterized
by a postcolonial flow from former colonies. In the past five years, immigrants
from West Africa and Eastern Europe have also entered Spain.
In the UK, Fordist migration is linked to postwar reconstruction and anti-
colonial and independence movements in its colonies in the 1950s.18 Here,
the term “postcolonial migrant” refers mainly to those who arrived from the
Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s. For my purposes, the
concept of transnationality has become more significant because of its con-
nection to a colonial past. In the post-1945 Fordist era, different European

62  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

nation-states established recruitment policies like the Gastarbeiter program in
Germany, but today a single nation-state’s influence on the issue of migration
is decreasing. Instead, migration policies are part of a reorganization of both
world politics and transnational formations like the EU.

eu asylum and migration policies

The relationship between transnational migration and the labor market is
marked by policies on admission, settlement, and citizenship. The Europe-
anization of asylum and migration policies is still being implemented on a
national scale, which leaves some options for EU nation-states regarding
the regulation and implementation of certain measures. For example, Spain
implemented a national program of regulation, Ley de regularización, in Janu-
ary 2005, providing individual contracts based on the demand of employers
for designated workers. Germany also implemented its first law on the right of
immigration, Zuwanderungsgesetz, thereby recruiting foreign workers based
on the demand from certain sectors of the economy. At the same time, both
countries have increased their budgets for border control and provisions for
refugee internment camps. These two developments reflect the primary goals
of the EU: (a) to open up the labor market for migrant workers, if the demo-
graphic and economic need is shown; and (b) to increase control of European
borders and intensify the regulations for entry into the EU.19
The Tampere Summit of 1999 established the three pillars of European com-
mon immigration policy. The first pillar for the management of migration
was based on two needs: member states’ demand for regulated migration and
stronger control of migration. On this basis there is a differentiation between
“legal” and “illegal” immigration within the EU, which grants legal immigrants
regulated citizenship and places illegal immigrants in the space of “naked life,”
with no citizenship, refugee, or migrant rights. Regulation and control have,
therefore, set the basis for the distinction between legal and illegal immigra-
tion and the differential statuses attached to these categories.
This policy of regulation and control was reinforced at the Seville Summit
of 2002 through the “Plan against Illegal Immigration,” which proposed col-
laboration in determining the level of economic aid to the countries of origin
and transit of non-EU migrants as part of the struggle against illegal immi-
gration.20 In this plan, the EU’s Spanish presidency developed the idea of sanc-
tioning the countries of origin and the transit of non-EU migrants by with-
drawing development aid from them. Although this proposal has not been
approved, the EU is including “countries of persecution” and “transit” in its
security program.21 The discursive connection between security and migra-

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 63

tion since September 11, 2001, became evident in Seville in the degree of coor-
dination between policing and migration policies that sought to facilitate and
homogenize deportation and internment regulations. In sum, asylum and
migration policies are characterized by stricter conditions for entry into the
EU, increased procedures for the recognition of asylum, imprisonment of so-
called “illegal migrants,” increased deportations, decreased social benefits for
asylum seekers, and restricted possibilities for family reunification. The EU’s
general migration policy has led to all member states’ involvement in regulat-
ing migration according to national labor needs while taking action against
illegal immigration.
In Spain, the successive modifications of the Foreigners’ Law LO 4/2000
(through LO 8/2000, LO 11/2003, and LO 14/2003) have also established an
immigration policy designed according to the demographic, labor, and eco-
nomic needs of the destination country.22 These laws promote the creation of
annual quotas of foreigners to fill the jobs least desired by the local population.
After the terrorist attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004, the Social Democrats
gained the majority in the elections. In January 2005 Prime Minister Jose Luis
Rodriguez Zapatero’s Social Democrat government introduced the “law of
regularization,” which enabled employers to “regularize undocumented work-
ers” in their companies.23 This law has not markedly changed the position of
migrant women recruited into the labor market. Since 1991 domestic work in
Spain has been regulated through the cupo system.24
The UK has established specific systems of employment for immigrants
(e.g., Seasonal Agricultural Scheme, Sector Based Scheme, or Working
Holidaymakers Scheme), which are used by migrants with permits.25 The
Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Law of 2002 emphasized border secu-
rity, combated the illegal employment of undocumented migrants, human
trafficking, and fraud, and underlined the importance of nationality in rela-
tion to citizenship. Since the London underground and bus attacks on July 7,
2005, the British government has been discussing the need for rigid regulation
of work and residence permits for non-EU migrants. In addition, the num-
ber of deportations and internment camps for refugees and “illegal” immi-
grants has rapidly increased. According to Hsiao-Hung Pai,26 there has been an
increase in immigrant workers in the 3-D jobs (dirty, dangerous, and degrad-
ing) in the UK. The UK food processing, electronic manufacturing, catering,
cleaning, hospitality, and health industries are increasingly recruiting migrant
workers. The unsafe and exploitative conditions of undocumented migrant
workers became a public issue in February 2004, when twenty Chinese cock-
le-pickers drowned in Morecambe Bay. This event was followed by a public
debate in the media in which demands were made for the regulation of “gang-

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masters,” and immigration raids by police were suggested as solutions to the
problem of human trafficking.
In Austria, migration policy is also determined by the demands of the labor
market, both formal and informal, as is reflected in an immigration law that
establishes two categories of immigrants. In one category are EU citizens and
refugees with the right to demand exile in Austria (these immigrants have
more rights), and in the other category are generally non-Europeans who
depend upon visa and labor laws (a quota system) that are very strictly con-
trolled, especially since January 2003.27

domestic workers and the global labor market

The organization of labor in postindustrial economies implies not only new
modes of production (collective productive units, and networks and flows),
products (information, communication, symbols, creativity, and affect), and
conditions of work (precariousness, deregulation, flexibility, and mobility),
but also the recruitment of migrant workers. Workers are recruited for highly
skilled jobs in the communication, information, and cultural industries and
for “trivial and dirty work” in the submerged and precarious informal private
sector of care, domestic, and sex work.28
Care and domestic work in private households is now the largest employ-
ment sector for migrant women entering the EU. The majority of these work-
ers are undocumented.29 They arrived as refugees, for family reunification,
or with a tourist visa, thereby losing their legal status because of restrictive
asylum and migration laws. Through community, family, and friendship net-
works they entered the employment market and began working in private
households. Private households represent, at first glance, a chance for undocu-
mented migrant workers to make a living. On the other hand, in the privacy of
the household, with its nonregularized status, undocumented migrant work-
ers may encounter semi-feudal structures of exploitation and, in some cases,
sexual violence.
In the 1990s, Dominican women were the largest group of domestic work-
ers in Spain. Recently, Romanian, Polish, and Ecuadorian women have joined
this group. However, because of the new law, Ley de regularización, access to
a work contract depends on the good will of the employer. The new law also
requires the recognition of minimal workers’ rights, such as a minimum wage
and social benefits. However, legalization means higher costs overall, so not all
employers make legalization a priority. Thus, the majority of domestic work-
ers are unregistered. Acceptance of this situation is structured through the
constraints of immigration policies, because as undocumented migrants or

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 65

non-EU nationals their access to the labor market is restricted through racist
mechanisms. In this sense, there is a difference between those who are reg-
ularized and those who are not. Migrants who have recently entered Spain
and do not have their documents regularized tend to concentrate in live-in
domestic service, while migrants who have regularized their situation enter
domestic service (as external workers), food service, agriculture, or sex work
(although this last sector is not legally recognized as work in Spain). Most
Spanish women reject live-in domestic service because of its poor labor condi-
tions. The existence of a “substitute” female migrant population with no other
job alternatives has encouraged a situation in which the salaries and the social
value of this job remain extremely low. It costs the same to hire someone as a
live-in as it does to hire an external worker, but employers consider the live-in
to be available at all hours. The domestic service sector is subject to a regula-
tion regime that establishes a very low level of protection. A written contract is
only obligatory when the job exceeds eighty hours a month. Thus the contract
may be informal or verbal, leading to many abuses by employers. Ultimately,
without a written contract the migrant woman remains illegal.30
In the UK domestic workers can enter the country only if they enter with
their employers. They receive a six-month permit with the possibility of an
extension if their employer is in the UK as a visitor. If the employee changes
employers, she must advise the Home Office, explaining in detail the reasons
for the change. Only after four years as a domestic worker in the UK will she
have the right to apply for permanent residence. This makes domestic work-
ers extremely dependent on their employers. Kalayaan, the London-based
support group for domestic workers, has condemned such dependency. It
reported four thousand cases of mistreatment of domestic workers in 1998.31
In this same year Kalayaan, in partnership with the self-help group Waling-
Waling, the church, trade unions, and solidarity organizations, succeeded in
regularizing a small number of domestic workers irrespective of their employ-
ers’ demands. This was done on a case-by-case basis with the Home Office.
However, the success in individual cases did not lead to a general recognition
of domestic workers as “autonomous workers.” Bridget Anderson considers
this campaign to have had limited political success, partly because of the social
conditions of care and domestic work.32 Most women are employed under
precarious conditions that are difficult to regulate; thus abuses still continue.33
The UK needs to draw attention to the class and ethnic background of domes-
tic workers and the regional differences in terms of the workforce.34
During the 1990s, international research considered domestic workers to be
“pioneers of globalized economic relationships.”35 Canadian scholars Abigail
Bakan and Daiva Stasiulis noted that domestic workers in the era of globaliza-

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tion are not only supposed to do the work of “domestic helpers,” but are also
expected to have specialized skills, such as speaking different languages, and
to be educated in the care and arrangement of households.36 For example,
some households in Canada demand Philippine women who have worked
in Hong Kong and undergone training as domestic workers. Also, studies on
domestic workers in Europe show that a high percentage of domestic workers
from Eastern Europe have a degree in higher education.37 This is also the case
for the group of migrant women that Bridget Anderson interviewed in her
study on domestic work in Western Europe. Anderson states that the recruit-
ment of domestic workers is not based solely on a family’s needs to outsource
the housework. Employing domestic workers also provides social distinction.
Thus, to have a domestic worker not only gives women or the family more time
for things that they enjoy but also marks employers as middle or upper class.38
Sabine Hess encountered a similar situation in Germany in which employers
received distinction by hiring au pairs from Eastern Europe.39
The creation of transatlantic networks and the building of companies in
the deregularized labor market demarcates two aspects of transnationality.
As Ninna Nyberg Sörensen’s study of domestic workers from the Dominican
Republic working in Madrid and New York demonstrates,40 these women oper-
ate in a “new global migration space.”41 In this transnational space, economic,
communicative, and mental transatlantic networks are built. These networks
confront and undermine restrictive border controls and racist exclusion poli-
cies by inventing new itineraries. In response to the ethnicization, racism, and
sexism that rule their everyday lives, these women create new spaces of agency
and recognition, as shown in my previous study on migrant female intellectu-
als in Germany.42 I revealed that even though the women experience upward
social mobility through education, they still encounter professional disquali-
fication because of the migration policies and racism, so that they have to
actively negotiate the labor market and communal and affective ties to find a
position they can call their own. These are also features demonstrated in our
study on domestic and care work in Europe.43
The relationship between domestic work in the privacy of the household
and the regulation of public space through migration policies makes the pri-
vate household the center of the public sphere. As Bridget Anderson notes,44
domestic work is a site for the reproduction of social relationships, in which
moments of intimacy and affect are created and exchanged.45 This web of affec-
tive bonds is in itself structured by EU migration policies. In sum, for non-EU
female migrants, entry into the labor market is severely curtailed. They expe-
rience a devaluation of their education and professional experiences and are
channeled into particular work areas such as the domestic and care sector. We
will look more closely at this process, using Germany as an example.

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 67

the german case
In the 1920s Germany recruited Polish immigrants for the mining sector under
a Wanderarbeiter program.46 During the Third Reich, the forced use of foreign
workers was commonplace. Thus, Germany already had a history of immigra-
tion policies before the first bilateral agreement on the recruitment of a for-
eign labor force with Italy in 1955. Nonetheless, the Fordist immigration policy
connected to the Marshall Plan was a specific measure built into the project of
rebuilding the German economy. Although the Marshall Plan did not directly
mandate importing a foreign labor force, migrant labor was necessary for the
realization of its economic aims. Germany could have never been a “player”
in global capitalism without importing workers from the Mediterranean. By
1973, when the German government stopped recruiting migrant workers, 2.6
million immigrants had lived in Germany for at least ten years. At the same
time, family reunification programs had been initiated. By 1996 Germany was
“home” to seven million ausländer, that is, “foreigners.”
The Law of Immigration, Zuwanderungsgesetz, was introduced in January
2005 and was clearly dictated by Germany’s economic interests. It introduced a
new guest workers’ regime based on a point system by recruiting only a certain
number of migrant workers, particularly high-skilled workers, for a limited
time. This law has created new categories of migrant workers. It differenti-
ates between high-skilled specialists with guaranteed permanent permission
to remain, workers with a limited work permit, people whose permission to
remain will be unlimited or limited for political or humanitarian reasons, and
people who for various reasons do not have legal status.
As I have noted, the demand for domestic workers is increasing, as is the
migration of women from non-European countries by means of au pair pro-
grams, transit contracts, and tourist visas in Western Europe. Other women
arrive in Germany through the “family reunification scheme,” and in the first
two years they are dependent on their husbands, for divorce would therefore
mean loss of residency rights. Women who await recognition as political refu-
gees are not allowed to work for a year. All of these women, along with migrant
women that came through the guest worker programs in the 1960s and some
German women, predominantly from Eastern Germany, share employment in
the care and domestic work sector.
Women with tourist visas do not receive permission to work and, if employ-
ment is discovered, they risk expulsion, deportation, and a restriction on travel
to any of the countries covered by the Schengen Treaty. Nonetheless, a vari-
ety of networks exists for recruiting workers, for example, through the com-
munity, kinship, informal, and friendship networks or the local press in their

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countries of origin. The effects of racism and exclusionary migration and asy-
lum policies mark the domestic workers’ life conditions. Further, they are not
protected by union membership in terms of essential workers’ rights or by civil
society with regard to their human rights. The permanent fear of deportation
creates a situation of constant threat and persecution, making political alli-
ances a difficult task.47
More recent studies done by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and
activists on domestic work, gender, and transnational migration focus on the
concrete work conditions of domestic workers, revealing interesting figures on,
and aspects of, domestic work.48 In 2000, a report on undocumented domes-
tic workers by the NGO Zentrale Integrierte Anlaufstelle für PendlerInnen aus
Osteuropa stated that two types of services differentiate the German domes-
tic work sector: the housekeeper service, which is regulated full- or part-time
employment, and domestic work, which is mostly nonregularized cleaning
jobs. These latter jobs are based on two-to three-hour shifts, one to three
times per week. Housekeepers work on the basis of social security benefits and
appear in official statistics as registered domestic workers. Germany reported a
total of 38,000 registered workers in 2000.49 The German Institute of Economic
Research estimated that a domestic worker is employed in 4.3 million house-
holds.50 A typical documented domestic worker earns seven to ten euros per
hour, while an undocumented domestic worker earns five euros or less per
hour. The incomes vary in relation to nationality because of the stereotypes
associated with certain nationalities, and also because of the longstanding his-
tory of migration in the country. For example, a migrant woman from Bulgaria
earns fifteen euros per day in comparison to a woman from Poland, who would
earns five euros per hour. This wage differential is related to the fact that Polish
migration to Germany is a longstanding one, while Bulgarian migration is
more recent.51 Bulgarian women experience a high degree of insecurity and
vulnerability, for example, to sexual assault or nonpayment of wages. Under
these repressive and precarious work conditions, a majority of the women, as
Susanne Schultz puts it, have a “patchwork” of employers and work duties. In
these different environments, domestic labor involves not only keeping the
house clean and the children neat, but emotional reproduction (the work of
caring for the emotional well-being of others).52

affective bonds and biopolitics

In what follows I will present some excerpts from our research on Germany as
I look at affective bonds and biopolitics.53 In our study we observed that one of
the major skills demanded and used in care and domestic work involves emo-

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 69

tion and affect. This makes us question the term “domestic work,” because it
limits the significance of the range and dimension of the work actually carried
out. As the collective Precarias a la Deriva notes, this work needs to be consid-
ered in a continuum of productive and reproductive work and in its connec-
tion with care work.54 For example, Ms. Castro, one of our research partici-
pants in Germany, highlighted the ambivalent nature of domestic work. She
reported that she was in charge of the care of the child, which created an emo-
tional bond that was not recognized by the parents. Even though she was the
child’s companion, she was not allowed to discuss the child’s welfare with the
parents. These situations reduced her position to that of a child-minder, pow-
erless to intervene positively on the child’s behalf. She told us: “And therefore
I decided that I will never work with children again. Because the children, you
do see so much in them, the children and you. You feel sorry for the children,
and you can’t do anything. So you are not the mother, you are not the father,
nothing. You are only the house keeper or child-minder and that was it.”
Ms. Castro’s care work is reduced here to a mere mechanical task. The emo-
tional and affective bonds established between the caregiver and the child are
limited to the contractual obligation to look after the child but in fact extend
to caring for the child. The family displays here the general societal attitude
toward care work as inferior and unrecognized. The reproductive value of care
work as a contributor to the upbringing and emotional growth of a human
being is not perceived. Care work needs to be considered on a biopolitical
level, as a socially significant moment in the reproduction of life, which is
made invisible when we negate the affective bonds of care and domestic work.
Ms. Fernandez, another care and domestic worker that participated in our
research, told us that her employers made her feel worthless and like a ghost
not worthy of the ordinary civilities of life, a “thank you,” or a “please”: “then
this invisibility, you feel totally invisible and also completely worthless because
there . . . is no thank you, no please, no, “there you are again,” or something,
but, yes, . . . one is a ghost.”
The physical, societal, and political invisibility linked to care and domestic
work is a function of the character and the location of the work, as it is done
in privacy and isolation. The paradoxical character of domestic work as being
both a structural necessity and an arena of social exclusion becomes apparent
in relation to migration policies. In the context of social power relations, the
institutionalized and structural side of discrimination becomes evident, and is
exemplified by the limited access of migrants to the labor market. From this per-
spective we also perceive the racist and sexist day-to-day mechanisms that shape
the texture of care and domestic work. Ms. Vatu describes this in terms of her
knowledge that domestic work is about being used and simultaneously feeling

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useless because of racialization in terms of one’s color or foreigner status: “And,
I mean, imagine how you feel, it’s just like—you feel like being used. You feel
like being useless, you know. And, I don’t know. Maybe because we are Africans
or we are black, I don’t know, but it’s not only blacks who are doing this job. So
many people, I mean so many foreigners are doing these kinds of jobs. And, I
don’t know, if they are encountering the same experience I have encountered. I
feel very bad and I don’t feel like doing the household cleaning again.”
Care or domestic workers in private households often experience tension
in relation to their contradictory and unwanted positioning as anonymous but
also as intimates in the household. This intimate anonymity is instantiated, for
example, through a perfunctory note on the kitchen table or by never seeing
the employer after the introductory chat. On the other hand, Ms. Perez, one of
our research participants, describes how a very close and almost intimate rela-
tionship with her employer produced a particular dependence for her that was
not only financial in nature. She “simply couldn’t leave” her aging employer.
This unprecedented intimacy arises also because domestic workers clean all
the rooms in the home, and that includes making the bed, dusting decorative
items that may be intimate and touching other personal objects, and clearing
up things all over the home. As Ms. Fernandez told us: “But however, so these
things to unpack them all and clean them, that was it for me, for me it was
actually a closeness to a person who I actually do not know and who can actu-
ally do it himself, . . . and I couldn’t understand how somebody—so close yeah,
allows someone to come, without knowing the person and without actually
needing it. I find that totally absurd, that is this activity that is part of it.”
The research participants made us think about the role of intimacy in care
and domestic work. Although the relationship to the employers is profes-
sional, their subjective and affective capacities and competences are demanded
and consumed. Care and domestic work are based on emotional work and in
every stroke of the duster, cooked meal, washing machine load, made bed and
picked-up child, an enormous intensity of life is invested and produced. This
production of life forms a fundamental site of Antonio Negri’s notion of bio-
politics.55 For him,
One must be clear about the concept of biopolitics. It literally means the
intertwining of power and life. The fact that power has chosen to place its
imprint upon life itself, to make life its privileged surface of inscription,
is not new: it is what Foucault called “biopower.” . . . But resistance to bio-
power exists. To say that life resists power means that it affirms its own
power, which is to say its capacity for creation, invention, production,
subjectivation. This is what we call “biopolitical”: the resistance of life to
power, from within—inside this power, which has besieged life.”56

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 71

Negri relates here to the old Greek term “bios” to express the fusion between
life and work. In reference to Karl Marx’s notion of labor as productive and
reproductive work, we need to consider care and domestic work as sites of
biopolitics, as women are involved in resisting the power of life to make them
other than they know themselves to be (migration and asylum policies, racism,
sexism and class position, for example).
While employers look for domestic workers, it quickly becomes evident that
these workers are people, and not just a labor force. Nevertheless, at the time
of payment, employers believe that they have absolute rights over the labor
power of the employee. Disrespectful treatment, the exceeding of personal
limits, and the belief that one can take everything away from the care and
domestic worker are therefore common scenarios. This absolute domination
by employers is expressed in their behavior toward employees, something that
Ms. Vatu vehemently criticized when she directly addressed her employer: “So
if, I mean I’ll just say to the employers out there, if they could just change that
kind of attitude that the person who is coming here is suffering or the person
who is coming here, she has to be a slave because we are paying her.”
At this point, Ms. Vatu stressed that even domestic workers have a “back-
ground” and skills that are not known or inquired about by the employer.
This is important to note, because these skills are not recognized in Europe;
therefore the chances of finding a job in a different profession in which they
have already been trained or with their qualifications are absolutely minimal.
Toward the end of her employment, Ms. Vatu finally told her employer some-
thing that she should have said some time before: “Please, employers, when
you are employing somebody, just know that this person has also got a back-
ground. Maybe more, they are better than yours, I mean being here in Europe,
it’s not really that I’m . . . I’m suffering, or like I’m so desperate, or at all that
I’m pobre (poor), or I have, I mean I am poor, or anything, I’m not rich or poor
but I’m a human being as you are. And, we all need to live a normal life and I
mean all the . . . the people in the world—people have to respect people who
are cleaning for them, because you couldn’t do it. Ask yourself why.”
The question Mrs. Vatu would like her employers to ask themselves—
“why?”—does not just address the need for a tidy household but examines the
need for an asymmetrical relationship in which the domestic worker is subju-
gated. The question is thus: why is domestic work linked to the dehumaniza-
tion of those who work to ensure that others have agreeable surroundings for
living and recreating life? Of course, private households are emblematic of the
social divisions that rule society. Private households mirror gender relations,
heteronormativity, and racist classification systems, and are the main sites for
the production and reproduction of value. Private households are the loci in

72  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

which domestic labor is articulated through cultural practices, thereby show-
ing the different geopolitical and social positions of the actors involved in it.
The production, distribution, and consumption of domestic work are cultur-
ally enacted and articulate the social antagonisms in which it is produced.
In view of the social dimension of care and domestic work, some domes-
tic workers in Germany demand that the term Putzfrau (cleaner) should be
changed, because it reduces their activities to the pure act of cleaning. Our
interviews show that work in a private household covers different dimensions
of emotion, affect, communication, and interaction. Domestic work is deter-
mined by different social structures, which encompass the realms of the psy-
chic and the social simultaneously. A domestic worker can play the role, for
example, of a psychologist, a consultant, a teacher, a priest, or an educator.
How care and domestic work is evaluated and what this implies on the social
level are questions that need closer examination. Care and domestic work are
still key issues in the organization of gender relations and reflect at the same
time the reproduction of society (as it is skilled work).

skilling the unskilled and workers’ rights

In this sense, care and domestic work are expressions of social relations. If
care and domestic work were actually recognized as highly skilled activities,
it would question the overall evaluation of such work as a constituent of the
exchange relationship between the genders and also between paid and unpaid
work. As Eleonore Kofman notes,57 the analysis of “unskilled female migrants
in global cities” working in sweatshops, in the home, and in the informal sec-
tor reinforces the hegemonic perception of migrant women as unskilled work-
ers.58 This objectification of migrant women as unskilled workers represents a
common stereotype in the literature on transnational migration. Furthermore,
this academic representation is guided by a colonial gaze, through which
migrant women are also the objects of Orientalist and misogynist value sys-
tems. The notion of “unskilled” reflects the biased perception in society of
care and domestic work as inferior work, emptied of social and cultural value.
Studies such as Bridget Anderson’s59 on domestic work and Laura Agustin’s60
on sex workers show that given the diversity of skills and abilities such work
demands, we could consider both endeavors highly skilled trades. Anderson
and Agustin show that the job of a domestic or sex worker entails psychologi-
cal, educational, intercultural, and technical skills, and demands time manage-
ment, flexibility, and mobility.
Following these observations, the term “unskilled workers” seems to intro-
duce a hegemonic view by reaffirming the existing organization and division

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 73

of work along the lines of “race,” ethnicity, sexuality, class, and gender. This sys-
tematic devaluation of the professional and educational backgrounds within
the EU of women from southern continents and Eastern Europe is elided in
the category of unskilled female migrant. This represents a process of social
inequality that needs to be examined in more depth to understand why a spe-
cific group of women in a particular geographical and political setting find
themselves in the lowest level of the employment market.
To now evoke the term “female skilled migrants” is to delineate a strategic
approach in the politically contested field of gender, work, and profession-
alization. I do not intend to reaffirm the social divisions in the labor mar-
ket and the division between what Marx used to call “Kopf-und Handarbeit”
(head- and handwork). My attempt is rather to open the space to reveal the
intellectual, creative, cultural, and political work done by women in the con-
text of migration, diaspora, and exile, as I tried to show in my earlier work on
intellectual female migrants.61 It is from this angle that I approach the field of
care and domestic work as a constitutive element in the production and repro-
duction of the social. The invisibility and lack of political power linked to care
and domestic work is related to its character and location as work done in the
isolation of private households within a context of racism, sexism, and exclu-
sion that textures workers’ experiences.
In sum, domestic work reveals the different layers and interactional dynam-
ics in which it is socially embedded. Thus, interestingly, the domestic worker
is party to an unprecedented intimacy that she has not chosen. While the
middle- or upper-class, mostly white household does not form part of her
everyday life, which is economically and politically precarious, she is firmly
part of theirs. She becomes a key referent. Under these work conditions, the
“good soul” of the household, earning at best eight euros an hour, becomes
the “nanny,” the “good friend,” the “permanent companion” that could be
replaced, if she starts to determine the conditions of work—the psychic, the
social, and the “dirty work.” Of course, considering these dimensions, the term
“domestic work” sounds too insignificant for such holistic work, which the
Spanish feminist group Precarias a la Deriva chooses to call trabajo de cuidados
(that is, “care work”).62 The Spanish term cuidados emphasizes the relational,
healing, and caring aspect of reproductive work. This is work that seems to be
invisible, and as such its products seem to be immaterial, for it contributes to
the well-being and regeneration of the individual. This is a different kind of
immaterial work than that which Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt describe
as “symbolic, conceptual and creative work” engaged in producing immate-
rial goods such as information, knowledge, and affect.63 For Hardt and Negri,
immaterial work forms one of the main characteristics of new capitalist pro-

74  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

duction in the era of information and virtuality. Care and domestic work are
mentioned in Hardt and Negri only as a side effect. What these authors have
forgotten is that care and domestic work are still at the center of society, form-
ing the foundation for thinking and analyzing affective work. Furthermore,
the low status of domestic service has to do with differences in class, ethnicity,
origin, and citizenship status.

citizenship, workers’ rights, and intersectionality

The interrelation of migration regime, heteronormativity, and unequal gen-
der relationships creates a situation in which non-European immigrants and
racialized women are found at the lowest levels of the labor market, although
above those non-European immigrants and racialized women who do not
have their residency and work documentation in order. In Spain, Germany,
Austria, and the UK, many of these women are in a situation of legal irregular-
ity. Permanent fear of expulsion increases their acceptance of poor treatment
in employment and the thresholds of exploitation that women with irregular
status find themselves obliged to accept.64 The recognition of the fundamen-
tal rights of immigrants in the four countries goes hand in hand with immi-
grants’ legal status and their status as workers, a quasi-citizenship linked to a
work contract. The regulation of resident permits linked to work permits is
problematic in the case of immigrants working in domestic service, given that
domestic work is poorly regulated, and even where it is regulated, there is no
established means of controlling it in practice. Domestic service, like other
jobs performed by immigrants in the EU, is precarious, unstable, temporary,
and depends on the goodwill of the employer. In this sense, linking an immi-
grant’s legal status in a given country to his or her work situation creates a
precarious and uncertain life context. Furthermore, the new labor policies on
migration will foster the ethnicization of the economy and strengthen the gen-
dering of the unskilled labor market, having an impact not only on migrant
women, but also on the private households in which these women work as
domestic workers.
Despite restrictions and efforts to control migration, the demand for
migrant workers is growing. This development is bound to the emergence
of the “hidden side” of the new economy—that is, the expansion of the pri-
vate service sector, particularly gastronomy; cleaning; construction and agri-
cultural work; transport, travel, and leisure services; and care, domestic, and
sex work. Flexibility, precariousness, low salaries, and lack of safety character-
ize the conditions of work in these jobs. This situation worsens in the case
of undocumented migrant workers because they cannot defend their rights,

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 75

and unions do not represent them. Although domestic work has been on the
agenda of feminist groups, migrant organizations, domestic workers, and
advocacy organizations since the 1970s, these networks often battle against
ambivalence. Within the EU, such networks have worked on multilevel strate-
gies to improve the living and work conditions of domestic workers and have
succeeded in attracting the attention of politicians. At the same time, however,
the political regulation of this field has narrowed the mobility and the access
of non-EU nationals to the European labor market.65
In all four countries domestic service and care work are increasingly being
done by a non-national and female work force. The legal status of these women
leaves little space for converting their preexisting educational and professional
skills and qualifications into the social capital needed for insertion into the
formal labor market. In our study, two-thirds of the women we interviewed
had a secondary school education and one-fifth of them a university degree.
Latin American women’s degrees are not recognized in Spain, the UK, Austria,
or Germany. Getting a student visa for some women represents the only way
to reside, for example, in Germany and Austria. In other countries, such as
Spain and the UK, one may obtain a residency permit through a work con-
tract. In Germany and Austria tourist visas allow some women to work in
private households and commute between neighboring countries, such as a
Polish migrant woman living in the areas bordering Germany. Migration poli-
cies have an immense effect on migrant women’s lives and work conditions.
To approach this fact on the basis of women’s and human rights, we need an
approach that takes into consideration the interconnectedness between gen-
der, ethnicity, race, class, and sexuality.
Margaret Satterthwaite66 suggests an intersectional67 approach to human
rights laws that considers the complexity of the social constituency of the law
and its subjectivities.68 An intersectional approach focuses on processes of dis-
crimination instead of invoking identities: “Intersectionality allows analysts to
move beyond debates over the ontological “essence” of the myriad identity cat-
egories used by individuals, communities, and states. . . . This transcendence
is especially important when examining identities that cross borders, since the
conditions that construct and impact on those identities are likely to vary a
great deal in different settings.”69
Satterthwaite suggests that an intersectional approach in relation to the
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant
Workers and Members of their Families (Migrant Workers Convention),
which came into force on July 1, 2003, will reveal a wide range of rights pro-
tections in countries that have not ratified the Migrant Workers Convention.
Thus, “intersectionality emphasizes society’s responses to variously situated

76  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

individuals and groups rather than their characteristics.”70 We can, therefore,
situate the following suggestions for political and social change in the interests
of migrant care and domestic workers within this context:
Recognition of care and domestic work as essential work
Granting of workers’ rights independently of legal status
Strengthening of rights information and conflict resolution skills
Civil rights for care and domestic workers, prostitutes, and cleaning and
nursing personnel
Recognition of the UNO Convention No. 158 of December 18, 1990
(International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant
Workers and Members of their Families)
Development of a social climate in Europe that examines and is open to
the welfare of immigrants
Educational and professional promotion for migrants, particularly women
These transformations are important because, as we know only too well, a
residency permit alone will not change discrimination as long the exclusion-
ary policies toward immigrants persist in the EU, and in Germany in particu-
lar. As Patricia Caro of Mujeres Sin Rostro, a Berlin undocumented women’s
migrant group, put it:
Besides, these papers are just papers, you’ve just said it [referring to
researcher] and what would they give you, they could give you a status,
but if you don’t speak German probably they won’t give you a thing,
maybe they give you tolerance and this keeps you up for three months, a
year. No—what we would like to have is recognition. We are an impor-
tant part of the labor market in this country and we would like to be rec-
ognized as workers. We would like the Union to represent us. We would
like to be represented in a big organization such as the Union that should
value our rights.

1. The relationship between colonial powers and colonized countries, including the
removal and enslavement of indigenous populations, undoubtedly left its mark on the
administrative structures and cultures of colonized countries. Colonialism also influ-
enced the organization of labor, especially employment relations.

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 77

2. Kien Nghi Ha, “Die kolonialen Muster deutscher Arbeitsmigrationspolitik,” in
Spricht die Subalterne Deutsch? Migration und postkoloniale Kritik, ed. Hito Steyerl and
Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez (Münster: Unrast, 2003), 56–107, at 65.
3. Eleonore Kofman and Parvati Raghuram, “An Introduction from the Guest Editors,
“Feminist Review 77 (2004): 4–6; Arlie Russell Hochschild, “Global Care Chains and
Emotional Surplus Value,” in On the Edge: Living with Global Capitalism, ed. W. Hutton
and Anthony Giddens, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 130–146, at 138.
4. Hochschild, “Global Care Chains.”
5. Kofman and Raghuram, “An Introduction,” 5.
6. The research was conducted in Spain, Germany, Austria, and the UK. Here, I
discuss the German research. The German team’s interviews and conversations were
conducted by Macarena Gonzalez Ulloa, Efthimia Panagiotidis, Nina Schultz, and me.
The excerpts presented in this article form part of the interviews and conversations I
conducted. All the research participants gave their consent for this research and autho-
rized the use of the material within the agreed ethical parameters. In each country we
conducted twenty-five interviews and held ten focus groups. See also Luzenir Caixeta,
Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Shirley Tate, and Cristina Vega Solís, Homes, Care,
and Borders—Hogares, Cuidados y Fronteras (Madrid: Cruz Roja. 2004).
7. In PAR the research participants as well as the researcher are agents of knowledge
and active agents of change in the communities with which they work. Adopting PAR
meant that as researchers we had to be aware that we were in a more powerful posi-
tion, even though we saw the research participants as co-researchers. The women we
contacted to tell us about their everyday experiences as care and domestic workers
were non-European migrant women, some of them without papers. In the case of the
employers, we conducted interviews with middle-class, white citizen households.
8. The method of “open-ended interviews” engaged the idea of producing a nar-
rative. The German team’s interviews with the participants were led in our case by
three questions intended to evoke memories, anecdotes, and impressions. The German
team asked the research participants three questions. The first addressed their memo-
ries when they arrived in Germany, the second their impressions of Germany, and the
third how they imagined their future. The interviews were open-ended and were not
restricted to a time limit.
9. See Maria Mies, “Towards a Methodology for Feminist Research,” in Theories of
Women’s Studies, ed. Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli Klein, (Boston: Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1983), 117–139.
10. The team for the here-mentioned research project was composed of members of
different nationalities (European, Jamaican, Argentinean, and Brazilian). The majority
of the researchers had a migration background. For example, the German team had
only one researcher who was a “white” German citizen, while the other researchers
were from Chile, Greece, and Spain. The UK team’s leading researcher had a Jamaican

78  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

background, the Austrian team’s leading researcher had a Brazilian background, and
the Spanish team’s two members had a Latin American background.
11. Our goal was to make care and domestic workers’ strategies of agency and resis-
tance visible. Furthermore, we saw our research as a way of supporting their social and
political infrastructure through sharing information about access to public funding,
safety, and social resources with them.
12. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “‘We Need Your Support, but the Struggle is
Primarily Ours’: On Representation, Migration and the Sans Papiers Movement, ESF
Paris, 12th–15th November 2003” Feminist Review 77 (2004): 152–156.
13. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Gouvernementalität und die Ethnisierung
des Sozialen. Migration, Arbeit und Biopolitik,” in Gouvernementalität. Ein sozialwis-
senschaftliches Konzept in Anschluss and Foucault, ed. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez
and Marianne Pieper (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2003), 75–89.
14. Gayatri C. Spivak discusses how this paradox occurred in India, which, although
politically independent from Britain, still had an economy and educational and cul-
tural systems reminiscent of the British Empire. Robert Young, “Neocolonialism and
the Secret Agent of Knowledge: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak” Oxford
Literary Review 13, nos. 1–2 (1991): 220–251.
15. Hans-Ulrich Ludewig, “Zwangsarbeit im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Forschungsstand
und Ergebnisse regionaler und lokaler Fallstudien,” Archiv für Sozialgeschichte 31 (1991):
558–577; Ulrich Herbert, Geschichte der Ausländerpolitik in Deutschland. Saisonarbeit,
Zwangsarbeiter, Gastarbeiter, Flüchtlinge (Münster: C. H. Beck. 2001), 9ff.
16. Sandra Gil Araújo, “Las migraciones en las políticas de la fortaleza. Sobre las
múltiples fronteras de la Europa comunitaria,” Memoria: Revista Mensual de Política y
Cultura 168 (2003): 20–35.
17. For example, the representation of the Moroccan and Latin American communi-
ties on television and in the mainstream cinema very often follows racist stereotypes
that eroticize, exoticize, criminalize, or demonize the Other. See also Isabel Santaolalla,
“Los ‘Otros’: Etnicidad y ‘raza’ en el cine español contemporáreneo,” (Zaragoza: Prensas
Universitaria de Zaragoza, 2005).
18. The term “Fordist” characterized the immigration to Western Europe in the
1950s and 1960s from Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal), Turkey and
North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria), Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Pakistan,
and India) and the Caribbean. This migration was influenced by a new phase of capital-
ist accumulation characterized by mass production and mass consumption. The term
“Fordism” was coined about 1910 to describe Henry Ford’s success in the U.S. automo-
bile industry. Ford improved mass production methods and developed the assembly
line. These economic policies were introduced to post-1945 European societies such as
Germany. In Britain and France related migratory movements began during the wars
of independence in the former British and French colonies in the late 1940s and mid

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 79

1950s. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Das postkoloniale Europa dekonstruieren.
Zu Prekarisierung, Migration und Arbeit in der EU,” Widerspruch 48 (2005): 71–83.
19. The Treaty of Amsterdam was implemented on May 1, 1999. It led to the devel-
opment of a common asylum and migration policy and harmonized the legal systems
and foreign policies of the signatory EU states. This policy was initiated by the Treaty of
Maastricht, in which the EU agreed to implement interstate agreements for immigra-
tion and asylum policies, which fostered cooperation between the legal system and the
police as well as the visa system. These treaties are the outcome of the Schengen Treaty,
signed in 1990 by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and
Portugal. This established both the free movement of people between these countries
and strengthened control of the European border. This led to two different develop-
ments, on the one side to the free movement of EU citizens within the EU (as they have
access to the labor market in the different EU countries), and on the other side to both
restricted entry to the EU and restricted access to the labor market for non-EU citizens.
The European border has experienced in the last decade increasing militarization. In
the last summit of the European Ministers of Inner Affairs in Luxemburg (April 19–21,
2007), the EU agreed to establish the European Agency of Borders (Frontex). Frontex
is in charge of developing a European Border Patrol. In this summit some of the mem-
bers agreed to contribute, with 116 military ships, 21 airplanes, and 27 helicopters to
patrol the borders of the EU from Africa to Eastern Europe (El Pais: “116 barcos, 21
aviones y 27 helicópteros para fronteras, “El Pais, no. 10.906 (2007): 2).
The Treaty of Amsterdam strengthened these migration policies, as did the intro-
duction of the EURODAC agreement after September 11, 2001, which sought to com-
pare the genetic data of refugees, implement new visa requirements in 130 countries,
and strengthen the power to prosecute airlines and other transportation companies.
Furthermore, the EU has attempted to create a common definition of refugee status
and regularize family reunification. The concept of family that is revoked here is that of
the nuclear heterosexual family, although we can perceive some exceptional changes in
some EU countries, such as Germany (2000) and Spain (2005), due to the introduction
of the civil registration for same-sex couples (see
_by_country). In this case same-sex couples can join their partners in these EU coun-
tries, if they are registered as a civil partnership. However, the age for the reunifica-
tion of children has been limited to twelve years. See also Karl Kopp, Asyl (Hamburg:
Rotbuch, 2002).
20. Paco Torres, “La sanción del giro autoritario. Inmigración y Cumbre de Sevilla.”
Página Abierta 128 (2002): 8–10.
21. Kopp, Asyl, 6.
22. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care and Borders, 84.
23. SOS Racismo, “De una mala ley no puede salir un buen Reglamento.” MUGAK
29 (2004): 4–9.

80  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

24. The Spanish government implemented three major regularization programs
(popularly known as CUPO or Contingente) in 1991, 1996, and 1999, resulting in the
provision of legal work and residence permits for a significant number of formerly
undocumented workers. Residence permits have been renewed annually. With the
conclusion of these regularization programs, all foreigners needed working permits to
hold jobs or could face deportation. In accordance with the 1991 CUPO, employment
of foreign workers is allowed only in household and agricultural services.
In 1993, up to 20,000 work permits a year were allocated to workers from non-
European countries for work in private households and agriculture. At the begin-
ning, only Filipinas, Dominicans, and Peruvians were given work permits. However,
in response to protests this restriction was been withdrawn. See also Susanne Schultz,
“Domestic Slavery oder Green Card? Feministische Strategien zu bezahlter Arbeit,”
iz3w 257 (2001): 7–15.
25. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care and Borders, 84.
26. Hsiao-Hung Pai, “An Ethnography of Global Labour Migration,” Feminist Review
77 (2004): 129–131.
27. The immigration policies have been reinforced by the law from January 2003
that makes it obligatory for all immigrants seeking a resident or work permit to take
German language classes for one hundred hours and sit an official exam. If an immi-
grant fails the exam, he or she is required to take another one hundred hours of classes,
at his/her own expense. If someone fails the exam for a second time, he/she is liable
to pay a €200 fine and, furthermore, after four years his/her residence permit will be
revoked. Caixeta et al, Homes, Care, and Borders, 84.
28. Saskia Sassen, Globalization and Its Discontents (New York: University Press of
Columbia, 1998), 81–110; Saskia Sassen, “Global Cities and Survival Circuits,” in Global
Woman, ed. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie R. Hochschild (London: Penguin, 2002),
42–59; Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders, 80–82.
29. Bridget Anderson and Annie Phizacklea,“Migrant Domestic Workers: A European
Perspective,” in Report for the Equal Opportunities Unit, DGV, ed. Commission of the
European Community (Brussels: Commission of the European Community, 1997),
30. SOS Racismo, “De una mala ley no puede salir un buen Reglamento,” 5.
31. RESPECT European Network of Migrant Domestic Workers, SOLIDAR and
KALAYAAN. Taking Liberties (Brussel: Solidar, 1998).
32. Bridget Anderson, “The Devil Is in the Detail: Lessons to be Drawn from the UK’s
Recent Exercise in Regularising Undocumented Workers in Europe,” in Platform for
International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, ed. Platform for International
Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (Brussel/Leuven: Katholikeke Universiteit.
2004), 89–101.
33. See Anderson’s “The Devil Is in the Detail” for more details.

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 81

34. In southern England, a considerable number of recent immigrants from West
Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe have been incorporated into the care and
domestic work sector. In contrast, in the north of England the women working in this
sector are postcolonial Commonwealth immigrants, their descendants, and poor white
women. See also Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders.
35. Helma Lutz, Ethnizität. Profession. Geschlecht. (Münster: Universitätspublikation.
2003), 1–42.
36. Abigail Bakan and Daiva Stasiulis, “Making the Match: Domestic Placement
Agencies and the Racialization of Women’s Household Work, “Signs: Journal of Women
in Culture and Society 20, no. 2 (1995): 303–335, at 311–312.
37. Bridget Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labour
(London: Zed Publishers, 2000); Lutz, Ethnizität; Sabine Hess,“Feminized Transnational
Spaces—Or the Interplay of Gender and Nation, “Anthropology Yearbook on European
Cultures (AYAC) 14 (2005): 227–246; Caixeta et. al, Homes, Care, and Borders, 85.
38. Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work? 20.
39. Hess, “Feminized Transnational Spaces,” 228.
40. Ninna Nyberg Sørensen, “Mobile Lebensführung zwischen der Dominikanischen
Republik, New York und Madrid,” in Migrationen: Lateinamerika, Analysen und Berichte
23 (Bad Honnef: Bad Honnef Publications, 1999), 16–38.
41. Annie Phizacklea, “Transnationalism, Gender and Global Workers,” in Crossing
Borders and Shifting Boundaries, ed. Umut Erel, Mirjana Morokvašić, and Kyoto
Shinozaki (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 2003), 79–100, at 80.
42. Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Intellektuelle Migrantinnen—Subjektivitäten
im Zeitalter von Globalisierung (Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1999); Encarnación
Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Grenzen der Performativität: Zur konstitutiven Verschränkung
von Ethnizität, Geschlecht, Sexualität und Klasse, “in Kultur-Analysen, ed. Jörg Huber
(Zürich: Reihe Interventionen, 2001), 45–78.
43. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders, 98–108.
44. Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work? 20.
45. Precarias a la Deriva, A la Deriva: Por los circuitos de la precariedad femenina
(Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 2004), 47–75; Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, “Das
postkoloniale Europa dekonstruieren. Zu Prekarisierung, Migration und Arbeit in der
EU,” Widerspruch 48 (2005): 24–39.
46. Klaus J. Bade, Europa in Bewegung: Migration vom späten 18. Jahrhundert bis
zur Gegenwart (Münster: C. H. Beck. 2002).
47. Caixeta et al., Homes, Care, and Borders, 83–86.
48. Renate Heubach, “Migrantinnen in der Haushaltsarbeit—Ansätze zur
Verbesserung ihrer sozialen und rechtlichen Situation,” in Weltmarkt Privathaushalt,
ed. Claudia Gather and Maria S. Rerrich Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 2002),
49. Renate Heubach, Migrantinnen aus Mittel-und Osteuropa in ungeschützten

82  frontiers/2007/vol. 28, no. 3

Arbeitsverhältnisse (Berlin: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, 2001), available at http://www (accessed December 20, 2006).
50. Schultz, “Domestic Slavery oder Green Card?” 10.
51. Recent migrant communities need to organize their infrastructure and establish
themselves in relation to established migrant communities. This affects information
dissemination and wage negotiation.
52. Schultz, “Domestic Slavery oder Green Card?” 10.
53. The names of the research participants have been changed to honor their wish
to remain anonymous.
54. Precarias a la Deriva, A la Deriva, 68–70.
55. Antonio Negri. Negri on Negri, in conversation with Anne Dufourmantelle
(New York: Routledge, 2003); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 2000); Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War
and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).
56. Negri, Negri on Negri, 64.
57. Eleonore Kofman, “The Invisibility of Female Migrants and Gender Relations in
Studies of Skilled Migration in Europe,” International Journal of Population Geography
6, no.1 (2000): 45–59.
58. Kofman, “The Invisibility of Female Migrants,” 46.
59. Anderson, Doing the Dirty Work?
60. Laura Agustin, Trabajar en la industria del sexo, y otros tópicos migratorios
(Donostia-San Sebastian: Gakoa Liburuak, 2002).
61. Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Intellektuelle Migrantinnen—Subjektivitäten im Zeitalter
von Globalisierung, 77–87.
62. Precarias a la Deriva, A la Deriva, 61.
63. Hardt and Negri, Empire; Hardt and Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the
Age of Empire, 108, 110–11.
64. Caixeta et al, Homes, Care and Borders, 86.
65. Helen Schwenken, “‘Domestic Slavery’ versus ‘rights’: Political Mobilizations
of Migrant Domestic Workers in the European Union,” Working Paper 116, Center for
Comparative Immigration Studies (2005): 1–26.
66. Margaret Satterthwaite, “Women Migrants’ Rights under International Human
Rights Law,” Feminist Review 77 (2004): 167–171.
67. The intersectional approach has been introduced into legal studies by Kimberlé
Williams Crenshaw in “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and
Violence against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 4 (1991): 1241–1256.
68. Satterthwaite, “Women Migrants’ Rights,” 168.
69. Ibid.
70. Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2000, as cited in Satterthwaite, “Women
Migrants’ Rights,” 168.

E. G. Rodríguez: The “Hidden Side” of the New Economy 83