Sri Lankan Men Working as Cleaners and Carers

Negotiating Masculinity in Naples

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on an intersectional approach, the article examines how Sri Lankan domestic workers’ masculinities are constructed and negotiated in conjunction with race and ethnicity by Neapolitan employers and the male domestic workers themselves. The article discusses how Neapolitan employers construct Sri Lankan masculinity as effeminate, asexual, and unthreatening and how these Sri Lankan men themselves strategically exploit these stereotypes in gaining access to jobs that are socially constructed as women’s work. However, in relation to their own community and families, and quite contrary to the Neapolitan employers’ stereotypes, Sri Lankan men negotiate rather hegemonic and traditional notions of masculinity. The article draws on ethnographic research conducted in Naples including participant observation within the Sri Lankan community and in-depth interviews with Sri Lankan male and female
domestic workers, as well as with Neapolitan employers of Sri Lankan male domestic workers. By looking at the experiences of these migrant men, the article contributes to the understanding of how intersectional categories work in different and often contradictory ways in the everyday negotiations of subjectivities. The article draws our attention to how racial and ethnic differences can be strategically deployed by the members of a specific group. It also concludes that there is no fixed notion of Sri Lankan masculinity. Rather, it is contextualized and constructed quite differently by Neapolitan employers and Sri Lankan men themselves.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMen and Masculinities
Volume13
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)65-86
Number of pages21
ISSN1097-184X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 514 Sociology

Cite this

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title = "Sri Lankan Men Working as Cleaners and Carers: Negotiating Masculinity in Naples",
abstract = "Drawing on an intersectional approach, the article examines how Sri Lankan domestic workers’ masculinities are constructed and negotiated in conjunction with race and ethnicity by Neapolitan employers and the male domestic workers themselves. The article discusses how Neapolitan employers construct Sri Lankan masculinity as effeminate, asexual, and unthreatening and how these Sri Lankan men themselves strategically exploit these stereotypes in gaining access to jobs that are socially constructed as women’s work. However, in relation to their own community and families, and quite contrary to the Neapolitan employers’ stereotypes, Sri Lankan men negotiate rather hegemonic and traditional notions of masculinity. The article draws on ethnographic research conducted in Naples including participant observation within the Sri Lankan community and in-depth interviews with Sri Lankan male and female domestic workers, as well as with Neapolitan employers of Sri Lankan male domestic workers. By looking at the experiences of these migrant men, the article contributes to the understanding of how intersectional categories work in different and often contradictory ways in the everyday negotiations of subjectivities. The article draws our attention to how racial and ethnic differences can be strategically deployed by the members of a specific group. It also concludes that there is no fixed notion of Sri Lankan masculinity. Rather, it is contextualized and constructed quite differently by Neapolitan employers and Sri Lankan men themselves.",
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Sri Lankan Men Working as Cleaners and Carers : Negotiating Masculinity in Naples. / Näre, Lena Margareta.

In: Men and Masculinities, Vol. 13, No. 1, 25.09.2010, p. 65-86.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - Drawing on an intersectional approach, the article examines how Sri Lankan domestic workers’ masculinities are constructed and negotiated in conjunction with race and ethnicity by Neapolitan employers and the male domestic workers themselves. The article discusses how Neapolitan employers construct Sri Lankan masculinity as effeminate, asexual, and unthreatening and how these Sri Lankan men themselves strategically exploit these stereotypes in gaining access to jobs that are socially constructed as women’s work. However, in relation to their own community and families, and quite contrary to the Neapolitan employers’ stereotypes, Sri Lankan men negotiate rather hegemonic and traditional notions of masculinity. The article draws on ethnographic research conducted in Naples including participant observation within the Sri Lankan community and in-depth interviews with Sri Lankan male and female domestic workers, as well as with Neapolitan employers of Sri Lankan male domestic workers. By looking at the experiences of these migrant men, the article contributes to the understanding of how intersectional categories work in different and often contradictory ways in the everyday negotiations of subjectivities. The article draws our attention to how racial and ethnic differences can be strategically deployed by the members of a specific group. It also concludes that there is no fixed notion of Sri Lankan masculinity. Rather, it is contextualized and constructed quite differently by Neapolitan employers and Sri Lankan men themselves.

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