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Negotiating Social Boundaries and Private Zones: The Micropolitics of Employing Migrant Domestic Workers

Pei-Chia Lan
Social Problems
Vol. 50, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 525-549
DOI: 10.1525/sp.2003.50.4.525
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sp.2003.50.4.525
Page Count: 25
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Negotiating Social Boundaries and Private Zones: The Micropolitics of Employing Migrant Domestic Workers
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Abstract

The employment of migrant domestic workers has turned the private home into a contested terrain where employers and workers negotiate social boundaries and distance from one another on a daily basis. Based on indepth interviews with Taiwanese employers and Filipina migrant workers, this article explores how the groups negotiate two sets of social boundaries in the domestic politics of food, space, and privacy: socio-categorical boundaries along the divides of class and ethnicity/nationality, and socio-spatial boundaries segregating the private and public spheres. Along these two dimensions I create two typologies to analyze a variety of boundary work conducted by employers and workers in this global-local, public-private matrix.

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