The services that the domestic worker performs are best described as affective labor. The interactions between domestic workers and their employers occur on the proximity of their bodies and therefore through the affective intensities that constantly are exchanged between them. A significant number of domestic workers in Turkey are migrants who come to the country on their own. However, the migrant domestic worker’s family is a ghostly presence in her employment since the affects she is professionally expected to serve were authentically produced for her own family first. Her mobility is therefore not simply a horizontal displacement but a way to suture affects onto her body that will be debarked later for her employers. A work permit scheme recently introduced for migrant domestic workers in Turkey has been built on the governance of migrant workers as providers of affective labor in all these ways. Arguably, however, the affective plane between women from across the global North and the South that migrant domestic work constructs also holds potential for provoking challenges to this formation of governance.
1 April 2018
Ayse Akalin; Affective Precarity: The Migrant Domestic Worker. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2018; 117 (2): 420–429. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-4374933
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