'The Mobility Pathways of Migrant Domestic Workers’.
Webinar with Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, University of Southern California
Speaker Bio: Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She writes on the migration of women from the Philippines with a focus on domestic work. She is the author of Servants of Globalization: Migration and Domestic Work (Stanford University Press). She is currently the Vice President of the American Sociological Association.
Abstract: In this talk, I identify and examine the mobility pathways of migrant domestic workers, meaning the course of action they undertake to secure continuous employment. Mobility pathways refer not only to migratory practices and processes but also concern shifts in one’s employment, legal and social status. This talk examines the mobility pathways of migrant domestic workers in order to interrogate the possibilities of socio-economic mobility allowed by their migration in a stratified global labor market. Drawing from 85 in-depth interviews conducted with Filipino migrant domestic workers employed in the key destination of the United Arab Emirates, this talk identifies three salient mobility pathways of serial migration, staggered migration and return migration. It revisits our understanding in labor migration studies of the intersections of social and spatial mobility as it first establishes the salience of multi-national migrations, thus disrupting the assumption of the continuous settlement of migrants in any one destination, and second illustrates the social reproduction of poverty for unskilled migrant workers, thus dispelling the notion that migration offers an inevitable path to socio-economic mobility.