Symbolic boundaries, imagined hierarchies: a case study of women from post-socialist countries working as domestic workers in Istanbul
Doğan, Seda (2012) Symbolic boundaries, imagined hierarchies: a case study of women from post-socialist countries working as domestic workers in Istanbul. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1421157 (Table of Contents)
This study analyzes the different layers of the ''boundary work'' within Turkish private households employing migrant domestic workers originating from the Former Soviet Union countries. I suggest that in the specific encounter of these two categories, Turkish employers and female domestic workers from the Formet Soviet Union countries, symbolic boundaries are more determinative of employer/ employee relations in comparison to physical boundaries. The relative modesty of migrant domestic workers' wages entails a 'democratization' of the possibility of hiring migrant domestic workers. Hence, in many of these middle-class households, physical boundaries are either insufficient or inexistant. In addition, in some of the cases, we witness a contradictory class mobility. The situation is rendered even more complicated due to the incommensurability of cultural capitals acquired in different settings. Based on in-depth interviews with ten employers, and fourteen migrant domestic workers, this paper signals the emergence of a more interactive and dynamic employer/employee relationship in contemporary times. The possibility of transformation is due to the flexible nature of the new category of boundaries, i.e. symbolic boundaries. Depending on the quality/quantity of the interaction between the inside and the outside, the roles of both parties are constantly redistributed within the private households. In this sense, the substition of physical boundaries by symbolic boundaries can be interpreted both as a source of tension and a source of hope.
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