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The Force of Domesticity

The Force of Domesticity: Filipina Migrants and Globalization

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Force of Domesticity
    Book Description:

    Taking as her subjects migrant Filipina domestic workers in Rome and Los Angeles, transnational migrant families in the Philippines, and Filipina migrant entertainers in Tokyo, Parrenas documents the social, cultural, and political pressures that maintain women's domesticity in migration, as well as the ways migrant women and their children negotiate these adversities.Parrenas examines the underlying constructions of gender in neoliberal state regimes, export-oriented economies such as that of the Philippines, protective migration laws, and the actions and decisions of migrant Filipino women in maintaining families and communities, raising questions about gender relations, the status of women in globalization, and the meanings of greater consumptive power that migration garners for women. The Force of Domesticity starkly illustrates how the operation of globalization enforces notions of women's domesticity and creates contradictory messages about women's place in society, simultaneously pushing women inside and outside the home.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6855-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction Filipina Migrants and the Force of Domesticity
    (pp. 1-21)

    “Migration has a woman’s face,” reads a recent educational poster released by the United Nations. The poster announces that nearly 70 percent of emigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia, but half of labor migrants worldwide, are women. In 2002, approximately 175 million people — 2.3 percent of the world’s population — lived outside their country of birth, with most of them — 60 percent — relocating to nonindustrialized countries (United Nations Population Division, 2002).¹ Historically, women usually migrated as wives and dependents of men (Donato, 1992; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1994), but today, although marriage still motivates a great deal of women’s migration, an increasing number of...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Gender Ideologies in the Philippines
    (pp. 22-39)

    The Philippines sends mixed messages to women. It tells women to work outside the home, but at the same time it maintains the belief that women’s proper place is inside the home.¹ This paradoxical relationship of women to the home underlies the entrance of the Philippines to the global economy. The work of women as migrant workers and as electronics manufacturing workers provides the Philippines with its two largest sources of foreign currency, suggesting that Filipino women have achieved tremendous economic power in society. Although women have always worked,² they did not have as much income earning power in the...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Patriarchy and Neoliberalism in the Globalization of Care
    (pp. 40-61)

    In the globalization of care, the force of domesticity constrains women not only in the Philippines but also elsewhere, including in richer countries where people’s ability to enter the paid labor force is contingent upon their hiring foreign domestic workers and other low-wage workers. After all, the constitution of gender ideologies in the Philippines does not occur in a social vacuum and is subject to transnational forces. As the anthropologist Lok Siu (2005) establishes in her seminal study on diasporic citizenship, culture forms within the context of geopolitical relations and not just within a bounded and presumably isolated nation-state. Likewise,...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Gender and Communication in Transnational Migrant Families
    (pp. 62-86)

    Inequities of care are manifest not only between foreign domestic workers and their employers but also between women in the maintenance of transnational migrant families.¹ Somewhat like their employers, migrant mothers rely on other women to help them balance work and family, but in this case they rely on the unpaid work of female kin. Perhaps altruism or notions of family collectivism motivate these other women — daughters, aunts, grandmothers — to help migrant mothers ease their care responsibilities, but they do so not without difficulty. Regardless of personal motivation, cultural norms of feminine domesticity and maternalism compel these women...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The Place and Placelessness of Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers
    (pp. 87-109)

    This chapter revisits my study on migrant Filipina domestic workers in Rome and in Los Angeles.¹ In this study, I argued that the migration of women is a movement from one patriarchal system to another. Migrant Filipina domestic workers, I argued, flee the patriarchal system of the Philippines, only to enter the patriarchal system of various receiving countries. Upon migration, they escape the double day, the daily pressures and the cultural monitoring of their actions as “dutiful daughters,” the threat of domestic violence, or the impoverishment of single motherhood. For these reasons, it is not surprising that they prolong their...

  9. CHAPTER 5 The Derivative Status of Asian American Women
    (pp. 110-133)
    Rhacel Salazar Parreñas and Winnie Tam

    My discussion now enters the realm of the law and moves to the immigration policies of the United States as they pertain to Asian American women, of which one subgroup is Filipino American women. Filipinos migrated in large numbers beginning in the early twentieth century, as colonial subjects of the United States (Fujita-Rony, 2003). But women did not enter in significant numbers until the 1965 Immigration Act liberalized the migration policies of the United States and ended the strict quota restrictions that had impeded the entrance of Asians. For the purpose of illustrating the force of domesticity in women’s migration,...

  10. CHAPTER 6 The U.S. War on Trafficking and the Moral Disciplining of Migrant Women
    (pp. 134-168)

    At the turn of the twenty-first century, the United States declared war on its perceived two greatest threats to democracy — terrorism and human trafficking. The war on trafficking did not result from an attack against the United States but instead emerged from the self-imposed moral responsibility of the United States as a world leader. It took effect officially with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (hereafter referred to as TVPA),¹ which was implemented to “combat trafficking in persons” in general, but most especially to combat the trafficking of women and children forced...

  11. Conclusion: Analyzing Gender and Migration from the Philippines
    (pp. 169-174)

    Migrant Filipina workers constitute one of the largest contemporary migrant groups, yet their experiences remain marginal in current theorizations of gender and migration. In this book, I revisited my work on Filipina labor migration in order to interrogate how gender shapes their experiences of migration. In doing so, I slightly shifted from the current standard in gender and migration studies, which is to trace and accordingly to distinguish the constitution of gender in men and women’s experiences of migration. Instead, I incorporated a more direct feminist approach and began with the assumption that Filipino women experience migration as a movement...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 175-186)
    (pp. 187-208)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 209-212)
    (pp. 213-213)