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Domestica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence With a New Preface Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520251717
ISBN-10: 0520251717
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Domestica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence
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  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Total price: $44.82
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Opens a rare window into the lives of workers who often speak little English and seldom converse with their employers." -- Los Angeles Times

"[A] thoughtful, nuanced account of a troubled world so close to home that it's become almost invisible." -- Mother Jones --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Doméstica is a pathbreaking study. It opens our eyes to the hidden world of transnational care-work and calls on us to shape domestic and international policies that will bring basic principles of human rights and social justice into that world. Everyone who is concerned about care and equality should read it."—Lucie White, Professor, Harvard Law School

"Hondagneu-Sotelo challenges the reader to rethink the organization of caring work, the roles of race and immigrant status in the structure of domestic work, the importance of regulations, and the need for legal and personal recognition of the rights and human dignity of each worker."—Bonnie Thornton Dill, author of Across the Boundaries of Race and Class
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; With a New Preface edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520251717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520251717
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo's Doméstica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadow of Affluence, readers explore, along with the researcher, an oft overlooked element of domestic labour in America. In examining this particular manifestation between the haves and have little, Hondagneu-Sotelo has provided a "scholarly" treatment where Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed fell short. This is by no means an indictment of Ehrenreich's work, quite the contrary. Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed is approachable by the many levels of readers that seek to understand the phenomenon of the working poor and their interaction with affluent Americans (here, I speak specifically of Ehrenreich's chapter two titled "Scrubbing in Maine"). However, in Doméstica, Hondagneu-Sotelo has opted to focus her research on immigrant domestic workers, specifically Mexican and Central American women in Los Angeles. In so doing, her research provides insight into the minds and worlds of both parties who engage in what can easily be termed a "love hate" relationship; one where, out of necessity, both the employer and employees are in need of one another. In addition, Doméstica serves to highlight some of the struggles of members of America's largest "minority" population (be they documented or otherwise). While Hondagneu-Sotelo relegates her analysis and interviews to women in the Los Angeles area, this reviewer is of the opinion that her research may well be duplicated in other cities with similar populations and yield like outcomes.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Hondagneu-Sotelo's beautifully written work takes the reader into the world of Latina nannies and housekeepers, showcasing the women's own voices and perspectives while maintaining an academic's sharp-eyed analysis. She chronicles the difficulties of domestic workers while still acknowledging their ability to impact their own work environments. One of the strengths of Hondagneu-Sotelo's book is the analysis of class inequality, particularly the ways that employers awkwardly handle their own discomfort with their priviledge. Her conclusions, rather than knee-jerk dismissals of domestic labor, suggest ways that domestic employment can be viewed as the job it is. The author's thoughts on her own position to her research subject in the preface is worth the price of the book. This book recently won five awards from different sociological organizations, and deservedly so.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Domestica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence" is a perfect example of finding that little bit of lost knowledge that many push to the side or brush under the table.

I would go so far as to call this a must read if you are interested in the inequalities that fellow humans face everyday and the struggles they go through.
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Format: Paperback
Hodagneu-Sotelo's poignant look at the lives of Latina immigrants in Domestica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence, can be a source of enlightenment as well as a sort of "how-to" manual for any employer or employee in the nanny/housekeeper and house cleaning fields. The author argues that the women in these types of work continually battle for basic employee rights: adequate pay and set hours free from discrimination, harassment, and substandard working conditions. She addresses issues of long hours, unreasonable demands, alienation, and the reasons that the workers stay in these situations; fear of retaliation from employers and deportation.

Although a bit verbose, this book is packed with valuable information and resources that the reader is sure to use or be able to pass along to someone else. It is a meritable attempt at expressing the angst felt by Latina immigrants and the unresponsive attitude of the employer. It does tend to come across as a bit one-sided, due partly because not many employers or employees were willing to participate in her research efforts, but is still a great and easy read.
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Format: Paperback
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo provides a window into the often invisible lives of domestic workers in the US. In particular, she focuses on Latinas who work in the homes of the upper and middle class. Not only does she humanize individuals who may, at times, be considered a product of their service, but she also raises some concerns about how their work situations may be limited their ability to fully enjoy life. She does this without casting blame. Although many of the employers actually care about these women, they are unaware of how this discounted labor created personal barriers for the women and their family.

I found this to be an interesting and important read. I would encourage anyone connected to the service industry or who may employ domestic service workers to read this book.
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