Global Social Regulations of Domestic Work – the Case of Migrant Domestic Workers from Asia

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Alexandra KAASCH, Bielefeld University, Germany
Martin KOCH, Bielefeld University, Germany
While working relationships have undergone tremendous regulations in the past century, regulating domestic work is still in many ways difficult as besides formal employment relationships there is a huge amount of (illegal) migrants and other ‘invisible’ persons engaged in informal (paid) domestic work. It is migrants who usually possess less knowledge of the language of their host country, as well as about their social rights, culture and other important information, that end up in vulnerable employment relationships. Migrants tend to work in less regulated and less monitored working sectors in particular if their residence status is not firm. These problems generate different forms and dimensions of discrimination across and within countries. This paper centres around the protection of domestic workers. It addresses the questions of how the concern to protect domestic workers has emerged in world society; and to what extent global actors attempt to establish social policy regulations at the national and regional level to address the social needs of domestic workers.

Solutions to these challenges cannot only come from nation states but are rather at the heart of global social policy. IOs and NGOs have been involved in developing political measures and regulations to protect domestic workers. We are particularly interested in how the situation of domestic workers migrating from Asian countries such as Indonesia is described by global actors and in the policy recommendations to address their situation.

We use qualitative data (documents), and a combination of global social policy, world society and international relations approaches to study the role and ideas of global actors in the framing of domestic workers’ issues. We seek to make contributions, to a better understanding of global policy mechanisms to protect domestic workers, and to help improve the theoretical and methodological tools to analyse social policy from a transnational perspective.