Gibson-Nannies

2001 lan 2003 2006 rollins 1985 afraid that employees

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Unformatted text preview: 3, 2006; Rollins 1985). Afraid that employees will learn of better work opportunities if they spend time with other domestics, some employers deny women time off work, reinforcing feelings of social isolation (Hondagneu-Sotelo 2001; Lan 2006). Co-worker relationships Despite their social isolation, some scholars document domestic workers’ relationships with one another, particularly as they occur in public space. Several scholars use Goffman’s metaphor of the stage to describe how domestic workers behave when they are on and off work. According to Goffman (1959), people exhibit a different “presentation of self” depending on their audience; domestic workers behave differently with employers (on the front stage) than during time off work (on the back stage) (Cohen 1991; Lan 2003). Public places provide an important “backstage” function for domestic workers because they feel more private than the homes in which domestics work (Cohen 1991; Lan 2003; Yeoh and Huang 1998). Parreñas (2001) describes groups of domestics as “pockets” of gathering because women congregate in public spaces around the city, but are still segregated from dominant society. On their days off, women create “weekend enclaves” replete with ethnic food, dancing, and joking (Lan 2006; Parreñas 2001). Some workers create “family-like” relationships with one another by sharing apartments on weekends and gossiping about employers together (Cohen 1991). Weekend gatherings become sites of social support where women share information about work and wages, thereby creating a collective work culture (Cohen 1991; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994a; Lan 2006; Parreñas 2001). Through these interactions, women achieve a sense of social belonging and reclaim their autonomy (Lan 2006; Parreñas 2001). While this literature illustrates how domestics establish relationships with one another during their time off work, weekend gatherings are often characterized as reactions to domestic work. For example, they are described as a way to “reclaim autonomy” or as “coping strategies” (Cohen 1991; Lan 2006; Parreñas 2001). In addition, despite the existence of networks between domestic workers, scholars do not question the degree to which domestic work is socially isolating. For example, even gatherings in public spaces are described as socially isolated (Parreñas 2001). While most scholarship highlights the benefits of social networks between domestic workers, sometimes immigrant networks operate as “networks of exploitation” (Cranford 2005). Hondagneu-Sotelo’s (1994a) work on social networks among Latina housecleaners shows that for some women social networks result in better working conditions while for others they depress wages. Thus, apprenticeship relationships between more and less experienced housecleaners allow inexperienced housecleaners to get their foot in the door, but they also lock them into poor paying jobs as helpers (Romero 1992; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994a). Unlike previous resea...
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