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Unformatted text preview: rdeners or neighborhood construction workers who patronize an
adjacent taco truck. Instead, taco truck patrons stay on the periphery of the park, while
nannies and park staff spend their time in the park’s interior.
Nannies build camaraderie with Latino park staff in much the same way they do with
each other. They see park staff regularly, depend on them for occasional help with the
children, and share meals with them during park gatherings. Park employees are not equal
members in the nannies’ community life—conforming to expected gender norms, their
roles are different. For example, when contributing food to weekly potluck, women are
much more likely to cook the food, while men grill the meat. Park gardeners help nannies
care for children indirectly, by protecting their right to public space or fixing broken
items, rather than providing traditional care work. Despite these differences, the groups
clearly identify with one another and Esteban describes park staff and nannies as “a
family.” Thus, nannies’ networks at Pebble Park are not only composed of nannies, but
are comprised of Latino park employees as well, further complicating the vision of
nannies’ social isolation. 288 Qual Sociol (2009) 32:279–292 Employers
Despite their best intentions, employers are not invited members of the nannies’ community
at the park, but their occasional presence contributes to nannies’ solidarity with one another.
One employer, Lisa, has a particularly bad reputation among the nannies. I was impressed
by Lisa’s fluent Spanish and took it as a sign she cared about communicating with the
women; however, two nannies interpreted her knowledge of Spanish differently:
“She’s very nosy,” Lucy says. Catalina explains that Lisa calls their employers to
gossip about them. Lucy thinks this is a bad influence on her employer, “Now Mandy
wants to learn Spanish because she doesn’t like it when she can’t understand what
I’m saying. It’s too much; she’s my boss, I don’t want her to be my friend.”
In this example, both Catalina and Lucy express their desire to maintain social distance
from employers. Lucy expresses concern about her employer ’s desire for a closer
relationship, saying she does not want to be her employer ’s friend. Both of the women
express concern that Lisa will call their employers to gossip about them. Although Pebble
Park is a public space, nannies feel their privacy has been violated when employers arrive at
the park unannounced. Most nannies have stories about their employers trying to “catch
them” doing something wrong. Although they recognize it is their employers’ right and
obligation to check on their children, they also perceive the intrusion as a lack of trust.
In addition to the perceived lack of trust, nannies resent employers’ presence at the park
because it interferes with their jobs. When employers arrive at the park, nannies cannot care
for the children in the same way. Several nannies to...
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This note was uploaded on 09/24/2013 for the course SOCI 001 taught by Professor Dr.tukufuzuberi during the Spring '10 term at UPenn.
- Spring '10