The focus of this work is on migrant Filipina domestic workers through a comparative understanding of their migration and settlement in two highly populated and most popular destinations of Filipino Migrants; Rome and Los Angeles. Philippines share a common colonial history with both these places and these cities in their own way had a strong economic and cultural influence on the life of Philippines. This study departs from the other ethnographic works on Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia because as Parreñas (2001) points out “ the movements of domestic workers into these two countries are for the most part informal streams that are not monitored by the state” (Parreñas 2001: 2). The processes and experiences of Filipina domestic workers are explored through four key institutions of migration- the nation-state, family, labour market and the migrant community. The findings of the study suggest similarities in “dislocations” in different “contexts of receptions”. Such similarity lies in their shared role as low wage labourers in global capitalism (ibid: 3).
There are historical differences in migration patterns of Filipina domestic workers to Rome and Los Angeles. Filipino migration to Los Angeles began in 1920s compared to their counterparts in Italy who started migrating in 1970s. This comparative study sets out to argue through experiences of dislocation in the context of labour diaspora as the particular result of global restructuring vis-à-vis Philippines. Global restructuring according to the author implies “economic reconstitution” influenced by the transnational corporatism and postnational finance capitalism. This resulted in restructuring of the global service sector and increase in the demand of the low wage service labour in areas of highly specialized professionals. “… Global restructuring engenders multiple migration flows of female workers entering domestic work and results in globalisation of this occupation” (ibid: 9). Restructuring of economies has produced economies of migrant populations particularly engaged in low-skilled work. In some cases the sending countries, control train and regulate the process of migration and in some cases it is based on familial and other networks. Whatever be the pattern of migration there exist a notion of “Filipina” in the labour migration map. The Filipina migrants are bound to share similar experiences of dislocations across geographical boundaries and most of this experience centers on “partial citizenship”.
The book is divided into seven chapters. The first chapter puts forth the theoretical perspective; and the dislocations of Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers. The second and third chapter addresses the experiences of the migrant Filipina Domestic workers. The second chapter puts forward the partial citizenship Filipina domestic workers shares vis-a vis the nation state. The third chapter is titled “International division of reproductive labour” – where she highlights that “migrant Filipina domestic workers are in the middle of the three –tier hierarchy of the international transfer of caretaking”(ibid: 73). She argues that Filipina domestic workers are in the middle of the three-tier hierarchy. On one hand, migration enables the women to escape traditional gender roles in Philippines and on the other hand, it is interesting to examine how the “gender roles” shift and transfer between the women posited at two poles of global capitalism. A unique relationship is created between the migrant women and the women of greater resources which redefines the relationship between the “care” and the commodified reproductive labour. The following chapters i.e., Chapter 4 and 5 explores how migration produces and recreates structures in the context of transnational family. Chapter 6 interrogates the power relations between the domestics and employers followed by the concluding chapter on experiences of dislocations of migrant workers in Rome and Los Angeles.
This book is an interesting account of the restructuring of the lives of the Filipina domestic workers in the context of global capitalism. The study reveals the multiple variables that control their experiences and inform the process of subject formation in Rome and Los Angeles.