Skip to main content
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

IGHC Public Lecture

Mon., Mar. 6, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., L.R. Wilson Hall 1003, Mobilizing Morality: Migrant Domestic Workers in Dubai, Dr. Rhacel Salazar Parrenas

Feb 15, 2017

Mobilizing Morality: Migrant Domestic Workers in Dubai

Speaker: Dr. Rhacel Salazar Parreñas
Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Southern California
Fulbright Scholar, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition (IGHC), McMaster University

Moderator: Dr. Donald Goellnicht, Professor, English & Cultural Studies

In-partnership with the School of Social Work, the School of Labour Studies, the Gender Studies and Feminist Research Program, and the Department of Sociology

Using 85 in-depth interviews with Filipino domestic workers, this talk describes their labor conditions in Dubai. While the talk calls attention to the indenture and absence of labor protection for domestic workers, it establishes and describes their labor conditions as falling under three prevailing cultural patterns: a) dehumanization; b) infantilization; c) recognition. This diversity questions the common view of domestic workers in Dubai as nothing-but abuse victims, an argument made by scholars who reduce our reading of the kafala (sponsorship) system as a form of "structural violence." Countering the reduction of our understanding of domestic work to the structures that shape them, the talk argues that morals mediate market activities and result in a diversity of labor standards across households.

About the Speaker

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. Previously, she was a tenure track faculty member at Brown University (Full), University of California-Davis (Associate to Full), and University of Wisconsin, Madison (Assistant). Dr. Parreñas’s research areas include labour, gender, migration, and economic sociology. Her current work examines the intersections of human trafficking and labour migration. She has written five monographs, co-edited three anthologies, and published numerous peer reviewed articles. Her latest book is a revised edition of Servants of Globalization (Stanford University Press, 2015). At McMaster she is now  working on her next book which compares migrant domestic workers in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, highlighting the vulnerable status of domestic workers in unregulated workspaces.

Date: Mon, Mar. 6, 2017
Public Lecture:
  3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Reception: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: L.R. Wilson Hall 1003