Abstract

This ethnographic study of work in Cairo argues that the laboring lives of migrant domestic workers in this locality are both similar and different to that of other spatial locations. Con- trary to the re-hashed representation in media, this text shows that migrant domestic workers in the Arabic speaking world are not what is often referred to as modern day slaves. Instead, I show how these workers shape and are shaped in accordance with a neoliberal govermentali- ty, through their techniques of managing their affects, bodies and actions. However, regard- less of the increasing focus on training subjects before entering the workplace, the market for domestic work in Cairo is not organized according to skill or merit, but rather according to nationality and gender. The pricing in this market is a reflection of a local and global hierar- chy where certain nationalities are marketed as skilled, docile and modern, while others are seen as human waste. Despite the constrictions this market creates and although they work without papers, workers’ rapid change of employment shows how these workers are not simply victims, but rather active subjects who practice unconventional forms of labor politics in navigating the micro politics of the everyday.

Department

Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies

Degree Name

MA in Gender & Women's Studies

Date of Award

2-1-2016

Online Submission Date

September 2015

First Advisor

Rieker, Martina

Committee Member 1

Sabea, Hanan

Committee Member 2

Rizzo, Helen

Document Type

Thesis

Extent

98 p.

Rights

The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

IRB

Approval has been obtained for this item

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