“Who Cares for Those Who Cared? Ethnography on Ageing Migrant Domestic Workers Negotiations for Social Protection “

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Maria VIVAS-ROMERO, University of Liege, Faculty of Social Sciences, Belgium
How and through which practices do Ageing Migrant Domestic Workers negotiate their access to social protection across borders? How are these negotiations influenced both by their intersecting gender, race, class, generational standpoints and their transnational family relations? This contribution deals with these questions and focuses on the case of Peruvian and Colombian Ageing Migrant Domestic Workers in the city of Brussels. Such migrants share a paradoxical positioning as they contribute productively and reproductively to the development of their receiving and sending societies but experience a lack of formal and informal social protection on both sides. This analysis first maps through a moving ethnography the practices they use to negotiate their access to Social Protection in the areas of: 1- access to labor, 2- social security entitlement and portability, 4- housing and 3- informal symbolic-practical care. Secondly, it theorizes these practices as an assemblage of social protection that’s simultaneously made out of  transnational interpersonal relationships and formal support systems. Thirdly, building from the work of Amelina et al, (2012) Transnational and Intersectional lens are used to analyze how the effectiveness of such assemblage is simultaneously affected by these actor’s gender, race, class and generational positioning within the global reproduction of labor as well as by their transnational family relations. Concluding, it’s argued such assemblage of protection increases ageing migrants’ life chances but reproduces and produces social- inequalities at the local, transnational and global level. This contribution provides a glance at how transnational needs for social protection are negotiated across borders. Furthermore, it’s relevant in a context of increasing human mobility where inequalities in access to social protection emerge as a public transnational social question that is relevant both for academics and policy makers.