Care, migration, gender. Ambivalent interdependencies

Published on 15 November 2018 par Institut du genre

Care, migration, and gender are interwoven in obvious and not so obvious ways. Bridget Anderson shows how the ›dirty work‹ within care is delegated to marginalized subject positions. The concept of the care chain, developed by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, highlights the fact that care workers themselves leave behind reproductive tasks, which in turn have to be carried out by others when they migrate. Queer theorist Martin F. Manalansan questions the implicitly assumed heterosexuality of care migrants. Further research illustrates that care workers are not just victims of social structures but themselves actively make decisions – which opens up debates about agency. Following significant publications by Rajni Palriwala and Helma Lutz, questions have arisen about who has agency and the way care, migration, and gender regimes impact it. Additionally, care migration is an effect of global inequalities while simultaneously allowing for both exploitation and empower­ment. The dominant narrative consists of care workers that migrate from the Global South and post-socialist societies to the Global North. But this is not the whole story: Care migration also takes place within the Global South and among post-socialist societies themselves. Moreover, the relationship between care workers and care receivers is anything but straightforward. The structures (and hierarchies) of dependence and power hinge on the respective social positions as well as the access to rights and recognition. Additionally, while migrants can also be care receivers, some care receivers may need to migrate in order to get access to care.

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