Synopses & Reviews
Servants of Globalization is a poignant and often troubling study of migrant Filipina domestic workers who leave their own families behind to do the mothering and caretaking work of the global economy in countries throughout the world. It specifically focuses on the emergence of parallel lives among such workers in the cities of Rome and Los Angeles, two main destinations for Filipina migration.
The book is largely based on interviews with domestic workers, but the book also powerfully portrays the larger economic picture as domestic workers from developing countries increasingly come to perform the menial labor of the global economy. This is often done at great cost to the relations with their own split-apart families. The experiences of migrant Filipina domestic workers are also shown to entail a feeling of exclusion from their host society, a downward mobility from their professional jobs in the Philippines, and an encounter with both solidarity and competition from other migrant workers in their communities.
The author applies a new theoretical lens to the study of migration—the level of the subject, moving away from the two dominant theoretical models in migration literature, the macro and the intermediate. At the same time, she analyzes the three spatial terrains of the various institutions that migrant Filipina domestic workers inhabit—the local, the transnational, and the global. She draws upon the literature of international migration, sociology of the family, womens work, and cultural studies to illustrate the reconfiguration of the family community and social identity in migration and globalization. The book shows how globalization not only propels the migration of Filipina domestic workers but also results in the formation of parallel realities among them in cities with greatly different contexts of reception.
"Parrenas' well-documented and theoretically focused research reads easily as it reveals the complex nature of global migration. Her timely study of the Filipina domestic community brings overdue attention to one of the largest migrant communities in the world. . . . [Servants of Globalization] can be used for introductory courses in labor studies, women's studies, or ethnicity in the United States."Feminist Collections
"This is a thorough analysis of the lives of migrant domestic workers. . . .In all, this book brings to light many thought-provoking stories of anguish, resignation, and resistance. . . . This book is a welcome addition to the body of literature addressing women domestic migrants. Parrenas's work advances our understanding of transnational domestic workers. . . . In addition to being a fascinating inside look at . . . two communities, Parrenas's study serves as an intrusive model for other scholars interested in undertaking this type of research."Gender and Society
"Servants of Globalization is a wonderful but troubling book that is bound to impact future studies on migration, domestic work, and the family. . . . Overall, I strongly recommend this book. It is one of the few works that has dared to explore the dilemmas of the transnational family including the children."Contemporary Sociology
"[Parrenas's] nuanced accounts and fresh analysis challenge the reader to think deeply, not just about the suffering of immigrant domestic workers and their families, but about the entire global system that creates such labor, and how that arrangement damages all womeneven first-worlders. . . . Remarkable."The Women's Review of Books
"Offers rich and timely analysis to reveal the lives of migrant domestic workers in the shadow of globalization. . . . Brilliant feminist sociological scholarship with theoretical sophistication, emotional sensitivity, and political committment."Work and Occupations
"With rich analysis, absorbing material, and updated research, this new edition of Servants of Globalization offers readers new insight on the experiences of children reunifying with their mothers abroad, men working in a female segregated occupation, and the plight of aging care workers. Rhacel Parrenas's contributions continue to resonate with scholars and activists and inform our 'care crisis' and immigration debates."Mary Romero, Arizona State University, and author of The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream
“[Parrenass] nuanced accounts and fresh analysis challenge the reader to think deeply, not just about the suffering of immigrant domestic workers and their families, but about the entire global system that creates such labor, and how that arrangement damages all women—even first-worlders. . . . Remarkable.”—The Womens Review of Books
“Offers rich and timely analysis to reveal the lives of migrant domestic workers in the shadow of globalization. . . . Brilliant feminist sociological scholarship with theoretical sophistication, emotional sensitivity, and political committment.”—Work and Occupations
A poignant, often troubling, study of Filipina domestic workers who leave their own families behind to do the mothering and caretaking work of the global economy in countries throughout the world.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 283-304) and index.
About the Author
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Women's and Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.