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Politics of meaning: Care work and migrant women
- Politics of meaning: Care work and migrant women
- Huh, Ra-Keum
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- ASIAN JOURNAL OF WOMENS STUDIES
- vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 37 - 60
- Asian migrant women; care works; commodification of cared; feminist ethics; globalization; politics of meaning
- EWHA WOMANS UNIV PRESS
- SSCI; SCOPUS; KCI
- The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of discourses about Asian migrant women in the market for care work, with a focus on the meaning of 'care' and thereby explore the politics of meaning wherein feminism should intervene. A considerable number of Asian migrant women are engaged in care work that has been perceived as their traditional gender role. These women are socially marginal beings treated as unskilled foreign workers in the host countries. There is a close relation between their marginalization and society's discourse that determines the value of their 'care work.' For this reason, it is necessary to identify what are the cultural and normative discourses that intervene in the social process of turning migrant women's care work into a commodity and how discourses on care threaten their identity and self-esteem and marginalize their political and social positions. In this research I note that the point of the discourses lies in a series of conceptual pairs that dichotomize care into 'a practice of love' and 'menial work.' Initially, I set out to criticize the fact that the social value of migrant women's care work is not properly assessed because it does not view the contributions they make in this context as labor in the market. I then go on to criticize the overall reality of women whose traditional work is not given due recognition. Lastly, along with feminist and other discourses that are concerned about care turning into paid work in the market, I examine the debates that develop the politics of meaning around the commodification of care. Further, I find arguments that the quality of care work would deteriorate when it is paid for, are actually groundless. This quest is a means of searching for a way for Asian migrant women to gain social recognition in a situation where their care market has expanded considerably.
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