Work without borders: contemporary perspectives on paid domestic services and care


During the last decades we have witnessed significant changes in the cleaning and care sectors in a close relationship with global political, social and demographic trends.

This enlargement has been framed as a consequence of a set of inequalities sustained by several social relations systems and also of the amplification of mobilities (Anderson, 2000). Gender; migration and colonial connections preceding it; labour market organization across ethnic lines; devaluation, deregulation and informality amidst the least qualified jobs, etc. materialize, in contemporary societies, in the outsourcing of domestic labour and an “international division of reproductive labour” (Parreñas, 2001).

Growing attention towards social phenomena such as the feminization of work and migration have simultaneously enabled the observation of broad processes of genderization and ethnic segmentation of the affective labour market (Mezzadra, 2005; Ehrenreich and Hochschild 2003) whose nuances can’t be explained just by exploring variations in the workforce supply and demand, nor by push-pull factors between receiving and sending countries. Recent research has highlighted the importance of transformations in familial models of organization of care and its variation across different cultural landscapes (Kilkey et al., 2010)

The absence of public childcare, an aging population, labour deregulation and changes in social values systems embedded in patriarchal notions of care determine the way as gender, class and ethnicity combine in different care and domestic service regimes (Lutz, 2017).

The complexification of social dynamics inherent to diverse work-family balances and different care and migration regimes require intersectional frameworks that capture not only the legal and normative structure holding patterned behaviours but also the power relations inherent to the arrangements negotiated between the involved parts and the changes that new mobilities and communication possibilities allow to incorporate into research.


This special dossier of CCT wishes to contribute to the debate on the contemporary dynamics of labour market segmentation centred around the paid domestic services and care sectors. We therefore invite researchers of different disciplinary backgrounds to submit papers in the following (but not exclusively) areas:


  • Migration, labour and gender – intersectional perspectives
  • Disqualification, informality and the value of (domestic) labour
  • Public policies and European policies in the sector of domestic services and care
  • Mobilization in domestic services and care: associative and trade union practices
  • Aging populations and the care sector
  • The urban/rural dichotomy in care regimes organization
  • Discrimination and alterity in care and paid domestic services


The deadline for complete article submission is 31 January 2020. Articles must be submitted as “dossier articles” on CCT platform at


Please refer the thematic dossier title on the comments section of your submission. Contributions must follow CCT guidelines, available at:


All submissions will go through a double-blind peer-review process. Authors are encouraged to reach out to the dossier editors, Nuno Dias( and Manuel Abrantes to informally discuss their article plans. This thematic dossier is expected to be published in June 2020.



Bibliographic references:


Bridget Anderson (2000), Doing the Dirty Work? The Global Politics of Domestic Labor. New York, Zed Books.

Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie R. Hochschild (2003), Global Woman. Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. New York: Herny Holt and Company.

Majella Kilkey, Helma Lutz and Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck (2010) “Introduction: Domestic and Care Work at the Intersection of Welfare, Gender and Migration Regimes: Some European Experiences”. Social Policy & Society. 9:3 (pp. 379–384)

Helma Lutz (2017) “Care as a fictitious commodity: Reflections on the intersections of migration, gender and care regimes”. Migration Studies. Volume 5, Issue 3 (pp. 356–368).

Sandro Mezzadra (2005), Taking Care: Migration and the Political Economy of Affective Labor March. Goldsmiths University of London – Center for the Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP).

Rachel Parreñas (2001), Servants of Globalization. Migration and Domestic Work. Stanford: Stanford University Press.