Gibson-Nannies

Employers and nannies share similar interests in that

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Unformatted text preview: they both care for the children’s wellbeing, ultimately their differences in culture and social status result in rigid boundaries around the nannies’ community life that employers cannot penetrate. Still, although employers do not form part of the community of park staff and nannies at Pebble Park, their occasional presence is essential to community maintenance. By marking their differences from their employers, nannies reinforce their similarities with one another. Conclusion This research illustrates how opportunities for social networking are built into the structure of nannies’ domestic employment. Nannies regularly attended the park with the children in their care, transforming the park into a worksite and the community of nannies into a set of co-workers. However, for domestic workers in Los Angeles, the group of nannies at Pebble Park was particularly privileged. They worked in an affluent neighborhood, earned Qual Sociol (2009) 32:279–292 291 relatively high wages for their work, and a few even received benefits like paid vacations and holidays. Most were live-out workers with their own vehicles, and all had the freedom to leave their employer ’s household during the workday. Even with these advantages, they could not escape domestic work’s constraints, such as its instability. Children in this neighborhood start pre-school by age three, limiting nannies’ duration of employment. Two years later, all the nannies that spent so much time together at Pebble Park have been replaced by an entirely new group of nannies taking care of different children. The “super nannies club,” or at least the one that existed for a year at Pebble Park, no longer exists for the group of women described in this article. Thus, implications of these findings for organizing household workers are mixed. As long as immigrant women move in and out of the domestic service occupation, in and out of neighborhoods, and in and out of each others’ lives, organizing them will continue to be especially challenging. On the other hand, advocacy organizations have made inroads with respect to organizing domestic workers. This research shows that domestic workers have a collective identity derived from their work, social networks composed of other domestics, and a common work site. All are important prerequisites for organizing. Challenging the notion that all domestic workers are socially isolated, this research invites scholars to expand their views on immigrant communities and where they are located. Acknowledgements I am grateful to the nannies and park staff who graciously allowed me to become part of their social circle. Grateful acknowledgements are also owed to Roger Waldinger, Vilma Ortiz, Jooyoung Lee, Javier Auyero and two anonymous reviewers at Qualitative Sociology, for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. This research was supported by the UC Labor & Employment Research Fund and the ASA Minority Fellowship Program. Open Acce...
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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.

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