Domestic service and prostitution: Empirical and theoretical connections

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Abstract

Various activities are systematically imposed on women in both paid and unpaid forms, generally involving care for others, sexual activity, or a combination of both. These activities have typically been studied separately, but these analytical divisions are increasingly being questioned. This article contributes to this debate by exploring empirical and theoretical connections two of the most prominent of these activities, prostitution and domestic service. Through a survey of the empirical literature on migration for domestic service, the article identifies four themes that suggest why some migrant women move between domestic service and prostitution: pre-existing structural constraints, migration conditions, working conditions, and migration policies. Subsequently, drawing on the work of French materialist feminists Colette Guillaumin and Paola Tabet and political theorist Carole Pateman, it sketches the outline of a theoretical account of the relationship between these two activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2024

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