Ensuring Care through Exclusion of a Workforce?
Analyzing paid domestic work in the context of authoritarian neoliberalism today, it shows that the home has long been a site for class struggles. In Spain, over 700.000 people work in private households today and their number keeps rising. Only a third of the workforce is registered, almost half are migrants, and over 90 percent women. Their marginalization within the workforce and labor regulation seems to ensure the provision of social reproduction within a society in crisis.
Building on critical feminist political economy, this paper interprets the labor relation of domestic workers in Spain from a historical-sociological perspective: Delineating the exclusion of the servant from basic rights of citizenship in the 19th century, I then analyze the interplay of ideological and economic processes in Franco- and post-Franco Spain through archival documents, statistics and interviews gathered in 2015. I elaborate the role of religion, gender ideology, workers’ organization as well as the politics of austerity in the (un-)making of a female working class.