The Moral Economy of Domestic and Care Labour

Migrant Workers in Naples, Italy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This article proposes the notion of moral economy as a useful lens for the analysis of migrant domestic and care work. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in Naples, Southern Italy, it argues that paid domestic and care work relationships are based on a moral economy, i.e. on notions of good/bad, just/unjust rather than merely economic profit maximisation. There is a tendency of transforming labour relationships into family-like relationships due to the locus of domestic work within the privacy of households and the nature of domestic labour relationships as highly personalised. However, unlike the existing research literature conveys, many migrant workers feel that being treated like part of the family characterises the best possible work relationship.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology
Volume45
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)396–412
Number of pages17
ISSN0038-0385
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • 5142 Social policy

Cite this

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The Moral Economy of Domestic and Care Labour : Migrant Workers in Naples, Italy. / Näre, Lena Margareta.

In: Sociology, Vol. 45, No. 3, 2011, p. 396–412.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - This article proposes the notion of moral economy as a useful lens for the analysis of migrant domestic and care work. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in Naples, Southern Italy, it argues that paid domestic and care work relationships are based on a moral economy, i.e. on notions of good/bad, just/unjust rather than merely economic profit maximisation. There is a tendency of transforming labour relationships into family-like relationships due to the locus of domestic work within the privacy of households and the nature of domestic labour relationships as highly personalised. However, unlike the existing research literature conveys, many migrant workers feel that being treated like part of the family characterises the best possible work relationship.

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KW - 5142 Social policy

KW - Migration studies

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KW - Moral Contract

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