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Revisiting Gender in the Analysis of Transnational Migrations

Proposals based on Anthropological Theory and Ethnography[i].
Carmen Gregorio Gil.
Literature on gender and international migration[ii] -both of national and
international scope - is recent[iii] yet very diffuse. This is certainly due to
the progressive implementation of gender and feminist studies in the
Academy and the influence of “The Wide Movement of the Women” on a
global level[iv].
Feminist approaches put forward categories of analysis that aim to restore
women’s agency and the situation of those women who -as world citizens-
cross borders of a physical and increasingly fortified symbolic nature,
contributing to the view of international migrations as a problem of “male
immigrant workers and their families”. At present, most issues related to
international migrations such as transnationalism, globalization, ethnicity,
development, integration, identity, cultural rights, multiculturalism, cultural
change, health, or the labour market
(to mention just a few) make a special reference to immigrant women and
gender relations in a certain way. There are several reviews on the subject,
which clearly aim at addressing theories on migration. This is pointed out by
Hondagneu-Sotelo in his conference, eloquently entitled “Gendering
Migration: Not for “Feminists only” – And not Only in the Household”
referring to some of the essays in the volume “Gender and U.S Immigration:
Contemporary Trends” “Gender is one of the fundamental social relations
anchoring and shaping immigration patterns, and immigration is one of the
most powerful forces disrupting and realigning everyday life” published in
the year 2003. (2005:2).
We should congratulate ourselves on the fact that gender seems to be
everywhere now and this category of analysis has banished the determinacy
of “belonging to women", a problem that marginalised compilations of
papers related to gender issues in the 80s: “International Migration. The
Female Experiencia” by Simon & Brettell (1986) or “Women in the cities of
Asia. Migration and Urban adaptation” by Faccett, Khoo y Smith (1984) or
the special issue of International Migration Review “Women and Migration”
from 1984. Thus, based upon transnationalism, as one of the newest and
most productive theoretical and methodological approaches of the last two
decades, Pessar and Mahler (2001) argue: “The task of bringing gender to a
transnational perspective on migration was taken up by us (Patricia Pessar

and Sarah Mahler) back in 1996 culminating in a special volume of the
journal Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power published in April
2001” (2001:4)
In the early 90s, papers within the context of Spain could hardly could be
counted on the fingers of one’s hand, but now, 13 years later, I come back to
this field of theorization coinciding with the research project “SEJ2005-
06393 Inequalities in the context of globalization: Care, affections and
sexuality” funded by the National Plan for Research, Development and
technological research of the University and Research Estate Secretary, only
to face a substantially different situation.
During the years 1991-1996, while I was carrying out my doctoral thesis, I
conducted thorough research on papers dealing with the connection between
gender and immigration[v]. At the time, monographs on the subject where
practically inexistent, and only a small number of female authors from
English-speaking Universities – and who were mainly working in the
context of Latin-America and Asian and, to a lesser extend, Africa - were
beginning to stand out for their approach to migrations, based on 'women' or
However, gender was still not seen as the main principle of social
organization[vii]. Not surprisingly, institutional demand from social
anthropology has been centered around those issues related to the so-called
‘intercultural mediation’[viii], or dealing with cultural diversity within
different fields: health, education, housing, violence, social services,
associationism, and women[ix].
As regards the scope of research within Social Sciences, production of
scholarly literature throughout the past two decades is immeasurable. This is
something we may congratulate ourselves upon, however, in agreement with
Enrique Santamaría, we notice a “blatant epistemological neglect”(2008:8).
Reading some papers – either published or presented at congresses – and,
above all, observing indubitableness implied in some of the assumptions
made by my students on doctoral programmes, certainly demand
epistemological reflection, from our position as responsible and committed
lecturers and researchers. The lack of theoretical and methodological
reflection when it comes to the building of problems, making more than a
few assumptions and asserting categorical truths, as well as the scarcity of
contextualized ethnographical data are commonplace. Papers written on
social anthropology end up broadly describing certain cultural traits of

particular groups only characterised by their national origins (Peruvian,
Moroccan, Colombian, Russian…) in particular locations (Madrid, Huelva,
Barcelona, Totana, El Ejido…). As Danielle Provansal points out when she
refers to the excessive generalisation found in papers on immigrant women:
“Though some papers focus on the role of women as social actors and their
ability to undertake initiatives, these claims are not always based on
convincing illustrations, but rather on details, revealing a lack of fieldwork"
It is because of this that I wish to contribute to this reflection in social
anthropology, departing from two axes of theorization to which
contributions from feminist critique within Social Anthropology have been
decisive and whose applicability to the field of migratory studies must -in
my view- be revisited: social reproduction and social change.
Demonstrating how social reproduction is settled in gender inequalities, as
well as other inequalities, and the fact that these are not immutable is
undoubtedly still part of our feminist endeavour. I see our aim as
anthropologists from an ethnographic perspective, even when this approach
may not meet the demand from Institutions whose funds for our research we
are dependant on after all. The path I intend to follow within the field of
migratory studies leads me to redefining the category of social reproduction
in all of its questioning potential, and to reinstating the value of Ethnography
as capable of showing the processes through which differentiations are
made in a contextualized way, as well as the multiplicity of meanings taken
by social practices.

Based upon feminist critique, I will make an invitation to the development
of conceptual and methodological proposals aimed at overcoming the
dichotomies ‘production/reproduction’, ‘public/private’, ‘man/woman’,
through which me may be able to show not only how gender is constructed,
but also race, race, ethnicity, kinship, culture and other social distinctions
assumed as pre-existing realities in our theoretical and epistemological
frameworks. Unfortunately, Emic categories -only with a few exceptions-
are rarely present in research papers, as they are engulfed by our apparent
need to generalize conclusions -'most people think', 'the reproductive
behaviour of Peruvian women', 'foreign women employed in household
services’…- in a field of study which arises coupled with the demand from
Public Institutions and is at issue in various disciplines of scientific

as I notice a reduction of its questioning potential in the papers it has been used. due to the difficulties of overcoming the analytical dichotomies of ‘production/reproduction’. I will organize my analytical proposal in two sections: first.are rarely present in research papers. are focused on the so-called ‘transnational practices’ of the immigrant population but will end up naturalizing and reifying the categories of ‘woman=mother’ ‘family’. in their attempt to overcome the dichotomy ‘country of origin/country of destination’. culture and other social distinctions assumed as pre-existing realities in our theoretical and epistemological frameworks. ethnicity. as they are engulfed by our apparent need to generalize conclusions -'most people think'. Gender Inequalities and Social Reproduction . 'foreign women employed in household services’….knowledge. from their positions of triple discrimination[xi]. 'the reproductive behaviour of Peruvian women'. ‘household/market’ ‘public/domestic’ and ‘gender system of the society of origin/gender system of the recipient society’. studies focusing on showing the triple discrimination of gender-class- ethnicity or the ethnic stratification in the labour market will overlook ‘reproductive’ non-paid labour to steer their attention towards a sector called 'services of proximity'[x]. Emic categories -only with a few exceptions. I will address one of the issues most exciting to those of us approaching this field from the perspective of gender studies: the change in gender relations.in a field of study which arises coupled with the demand from Public Institutions and is at issue in various disciplines of scientific knowledge. Ethnographic papers with a transnational approach. but also race. kinship. Based upon feminist critique I suggest we elaborate conceptual and methodological proposals capable of showing not only how gender is constructed. Moreover. unveiling in this way the superiority of national over foreign women or reporting the difficulties faced by immigrant women who juggle their household work with their jobs outside the home. the one dealt with under the heading ‘Gender Inequalities and Social Reproduction’ and secondly. Unfortunately. ‘man/woman’. understood as a result of women’s international travelling. as I will try to illustrate. as a group that remain ‘doubly present’. --------------------------------------------------- the discuss the usage of the category of social reproduction.

the organization of household and care work as the building foundations of gender inequalities is an issue on which most feminist positions agree. women’s domestic labour (food processing. or would even tear off family –and therefore comfortable. it suffered from certain limitations. even though labour force was identified as an economic and social product. it produces an exchange value -the labour force. domestic labour. transgenerational maintenance and education required by an individual. because it left productive labour of use-values out of the analysis. The time of labour required to produce labour force is therefore converted into the time of labour required to produce livelihoods which –as commodities. Gough 1971. History. For this reason. capable of shaking too many foundations. As one among other proposals by feminist Anthropology. from my point of view. Sociology.are linked to the production and creation of exchange values (Marx 1976 crf. childbirth. It is an indisputable fact that in capitalist societies the invisibilization and naturalization of sex work as ‘a female task’ and its area of definition -domestic versus public– have denied the entitlement of rights to those who have more or less exclusively done it for a living. Sack 1974). However. Friedl 1975th. Leacock 1972. whose disparity between "use-value" and "exchange value" generates capital gain.as well as producing a key commodity. This is not the case for sex work. Narotzky 1995). socialization of children. Marxist theory made a distinction between the production of goods and the reproduction of the labour force because. work derived from it was reduced to the sum of the livehoods. though it is not put into operation as a commodity. Though Marxism was one of the main driving forces for Anthropology to study women’s economic activities in order to grasp their social position (Brown 1970th. whose status as work is refuted by abolitionist positions on prostitution. Anthropology. etc. besides depriving them from social and economic recognition on the basis of kinship. Reiter 1975th. breastfeeding) is a tangible rather than an abstract job.Undoubtedly.and it is a widely known fact in the understanding of structural gender inequalities and some of the political formulations which address it. This is because. we may agree with Marilyn Strathern that it would definitely challenge holy beliefs. 1972. dressmaking. though apparently . hidden agendas.prospects" (Strathern 1987:280). As Narotzky (1995) points out. I believe that taking a U- turn and placing care work in the centre of our analysis is still and exercise of subversion.) as well as biological or genetical labour (pregnancy. and despite the fact that this kind of analysis has permeated different disciplinary approaches -Economics.

and also by different female anthropologists inspired by this work (Leacock 1972 and Sacks 1974). the sexual division of labour. Narotzky 1995. As Moore argues. kinship/State (Edholm et al 1977. Rapp 1977.and its relation to the divisions of labour. Women’s subordination is explained by the division of labour operating in the Capitalist system: work carried out outside the household within the framework of productive relations. the family. feminist theoretical reviews of the categories of home and family (Collier. kinship relations will be decisive. show the existence of links between the status of women. As a result. and the gender ideologies organizing them condition their access to the means of production (Linderbaum 1987. Pioneering papers. Strathern 1985) have been middlemost. despite criticism from feminist approaches[xiii]. Harris 1981. Yanagisako 1979) and proposals aimed at breaking the dichotomies of relations of domestic production/relations of the marketplace. forms of marriage and inheritance. The links between family and kinship cannot be separated from economic and political relations[xii]. Harding 1981.independent from the laws of value is not unproductive. but rather productive work. households are "very important in feminist analysis because most women’s domestic and reproductive labour is largely organized around them. both the composition and organization of the household have a direct impact on . The connection between gender inequality. Rosaldo & Yanagisako 1982. The division between the domestic or reproductive sphere and the productive sphere involves a process of naturalizing housework (Friedl 1975. Private Property and the State” in 1884[xv]. Reiter 1975) as well as simplifying its content. For Marxist feminist approaches. overshadowing its great variability in space and time. and work carried out inside the household. 1976). as well as the political and production relations where such value is created in its articulation with other production relations. As for the concept of home or domestic group -used in Anthropology as a unit of production and consumption. The latest feminist critique in Anthropology has raised the need to study the value generated by productive activities of subsistence and domestic labour. theoretical contributions have focused on questioning the naturalization it has been characterised by. In connection to this. where women are relegated to. like those by Boserup (1970) and Goody (1973. Sacks 1975. Rapp 1974. and the economic relations of output[xiv]. and capitalist production relations was raised by Engels in his paper “The Origin of the Family. given their function as systems of production in stateless societies. 1979). Moore 1991.

isolated from the group of social. He refers to different ethnographic papers to refute the conceptualization made by Sahlins on the processes of concentrating and sharing by which the "domestic mode of production" is characterised. work and income" (1991:74). Okali 1983. Barns and Capital (1975). Rap 1978. such as "domestic network" (Stack 1974). Folbre 1982. Hartmann 1981. Prior 1993. over and above other kinds of relations. As regards those theoretical proposals which articulate production and reproduction relations and the imbrication between different economies. Her relevance lies in her attempt to link production and reproduction and the link between different economies. she has been subjected to substantial criticism. Other feminist critiques have focused on the homogenizing assumptions that have been characterizing the units of domestic production ignoring power relations at its core (Harris 1981. Dey 1981. As Moore points out. 1995). Particularly relevant to the issue we are concerned with is criticism by . quoted in Moore 1991) criticizes the naturalist postulates involved in the concept of "domestic mode of production" by Sahlins (1974). production relations set up around “matrifocal” households (Gonzalez 1965. Guyer 1981. However. economic and ideological relations and where marriage is regarded as the decisive relation out of all gender relations. the problem is to examine how the bargaining power in the household group is significantly affected by questions of power and ideology (Moore 1994:88)[xvi]. Conceptual developments.women’s lives and. as well as the impossibility to separate reproductive from productive tasks. Tanner 1974) or patterns of serial monogamy (Brown 1975) will question the role of the couple who procreate in an analysis of the household. Claude Meillassoux incorporates the concepts of means and reproduction relations in Women. Whitehead 1981). She presents women as "means of reproduction" and social relations within the "domestic agricultural community" as "relations of reproduction" as a contribution to the continuation and development of society. Smith 1970. 1973. Yangisako 1979. Harris (1981. 1970. But it seems then necessary to question the household as an autonomous unit. in particular. 1983) and hindering its articulation with supra-domestic processes and logics (Narotzky 1988. on their ability to access resources. He also highlights the importance of considering the organization of the household and the sexual division of labour when looking at the differential duties of non-paid "family work" and the conflicts generated between the spouses (Berry 1984.

household and capitalist production. As Moore reminds us. as Narotzky (1995:93-94) points out. 1977) analyse gender stratification deeply. drawing a conceptual distinction between structures. Yet. Her proposal. what is relevant is the fact that the production of people “is not an act of reproducing biological individuals or even reproducing labour force. Another underlying criticism from feminist theorization is the fact that both Goody (1976) and Meillassoux (1975) have taken control over women’s reproductive role as the starting point in social reproduction. taking into account both social reproduction as a whole and the material. labour reproduction and human or biological reproduction. social and symbolic issues involved in it. Understanding the divisions of gender operating within the framework of capitalist relations implies incorporating ideologies of family life and economic and the organizational realities of the household (Comas 1995. the link between the social division of labour and the ideologies asserting kinship relations. divorce) with what is “economic” (the transfer of property) and makes it possible for an analysis of the processes of stratification. The ideological intervention of political institutions in the organization of family and home life (Pelzer-White 1987. 1976. but an act of producing particular groups of people with particular assets in a way so that they are congruent with the socially established power models”(1994:93) The aforementioned discussions have raised the need for an analysis of the sexual division of labour. Wolkowitz 1987. forms of marriage. particularly. marital transactions. from the point of view of these authors. adoption systems. functions and social relations poses no direct questioning of the demarcation of both categories. 1977). established by different meanings (Hirschon 1984). From Marxist perspectives. Weston 1987. Yuval-Davis 1987) reveals the continuity .Edholm. in spite of integrating those issues related to the establishment of relations of kinship (control of sexuality. Segalen 1984). as in the work of Strathern (1985). One of the fields on which feminist reviews have focused is that one dealing with the link between the division of labour and social relations. kinship relations have been analysed as relations of production (Godelier. though Godelier’s (1977) formulations on the theoretical categories of infrastructure and superstructure in the study of pre-capitalist allow for some flexibility of the "economic" and "kinship" spheres. Neither does Goody (1973. Harris and Young (1977) on the concept of reproduction. fails on the need to consider three reproductive processes apparently confused: social reproduction.

Focusing on the category of “social reproduction” would imply looking into social reproduction as a total social act. The afore exposed is only a small sample of the analytical efforts made by feminist critique to overcome the dichotomy of production/reproduction. 1998[xvii]) from her proposal to build an analytical framework that would incorporate gender differentiation gender as a structural principle of the . that is feminist.that must be established between the household and the labour market. I will try to carry out a critical analysis of its use in papers on migrations based on the gender theory in the present time. incorporating a culturally conformed differentiation between what work is and what is not.as “an act of producing particular groups of people with specific assets in a way so that they are congruent with the socially established power models”. o what is the same.(1994:93) Once the political-theoretical aim of social reproduction is set out. or –again quoting Moore. the establishment of relations between the category of gender. in other words. The analysis of papers on gender and migrations show multiple bifurcations accounting for the debate from feminism on the dichotomy of production/reproduction. its focussed on contributing to unveiling processes of production of difference and inequality with the intention of contributing to its change or transformation. sexual work and (to a lesser extent) agriculture and the trade. as I understand it.emphasizing in some cases their position as mere “household managers”. 1997. their visibilization as “transnational mothers” within the so-called “world chains of support and affection. what production of commodities is and what reproduction of life is. on the other hand. social reproduction and international migrations start off with the proposal made by Gregorio (1996. I think its necessary to remember now that not all papers operating from the category of gender or woman are necessarily critical of gender inequalities. The study of these issues highlights the way in which the capitalist system of production and the thinking behind it enforce a stratification system based on the ideology of the household. and. as well as between production and reproduction. the visibilization of immigrant working women in the marketplace –household services. Research seems to take on parallel directions: on the one hand.” In the scholarly literature published in Spain. but their theoretical and methodological approach end up reifying it one way or another. Though obvious. or. wherein gender relations are established.

with further reading on gender critique. “Literature on immigration is ever- increasingly available in Spain. as well as the fact that the proportion of female immigrant population in Spain is similar to that of the male population” (1996:2). but also the social and economic consequences of “reproductive” work have been rendered invisible and the meanings and differentiations of gender -which are central to the division of labour and the composition of migration and kinship. In an effort to restore the role played by affection and the provision of support in social reproduction in the global order. As pointed out later “The priority given to the category of class by historical-structural approaches and the understanding of labour migrations as forms of moving labour force to the capitalist sector of developed countries (receiving) has left the category of gender out of the analysis of migrations. and based upon approaches that aim to overcome methodological nationalism[xx]. further . in spite of the discussion held over the past years on the growing number of women from developing countries who are present in international migrations (Instraw 1994). as workers in a wider sense and their main role as the builders of migratory. political or cultural dimensions[xix]. raises the need to understand migrations as “gendered processes” (Gregorio 1996:6). thus bringing their quality of agent subjects back to life. As pointed out by the writer in the introduction to her Thesis.have been left out of the analysis” (Gregorio 2007). she attempts to overcome the subalternity women are placed in when they are studied from approaches that refuse to incorporate feminist critique into a male-centred view. kinship and community networks. basically as social and political agents. social. fragmenting social reproduction into economic. Taking an ethnographic approach. and women’s jobs. but the theoretical models used to explain migratory processes have rarely taken into account the aspects of gender involved in them. And this is so. A review of the literature on migrations carried out by the author done both in an Anglo-Saxon as well as a Latin American context. With this. the writer accounts for “flesh and blood” women’s jobs based in different locations and highlights their implications for migration theories: their main role in social reproduction. not only has the importance of women taking part in migrations been minimized as female workers with their own projects[xviii] beyond their role as mere followers of “productive” men. With this. which are denied to be considered merely reproductive human beings. focusing on power relations as the main issue of their ethnographic approach.analysis of the causes and impacts of migrations.

cares for the children of professional women in the First World. following Arlie Russel Hochschild (2001:188). this category has been geared towards evincing inequalities among women based on the description given by Hochschild and inspired by the works by Pierrete Hondagneu-Sotelo and Ernestine Avila (1997): “These links often join three series of carers: one cares for the children of the immigrant who is in the country of origin. we have an opportunity to theorize on the intersectionality of the category of gender with other differentiating categories. clearly stating in all cases the political-theoretical aim to which we may construct these differentiating categories based upon social sciences and homogenizing women at the same time. I would suggest we focus on understanding the social organization of care in all of its emotional. and as the core of our existence. economic. Though hierarchies in the organization of care based on a transnational approach are not overlooked in my ethnographic work[xxii]. bodily. or more rural. Hochschild seems to subsume a naturalization of care –assuming the feeling of “love” from the carer. a second one cares for the children of the woman who cares for the children of the immigrant women and a third one. in the sense of “life’s sustainability” put forward by Carrasco (1991) in an effort to situationally understand their own logic of hierarchization and knots of signification.contributions highlight the existence of “world chains of affection and support”. understood as a “series of personal links between people from all over the world. so as not to be misled by essentialisms towards women as affective and assisting beings in their alleged relationship with procreation and upbringing. However. Poorer women bring up the children of more accommodated women whilst women who are even poorer – or elder. . From an ethnographic and feminist perspective. social. stemming from the generalization of their use by different papers. who is an immigrant. the mother. based on paid or unpaid support work”. poorer women have been responsible for the upbringing of the wealthier classes’ offspring since the 17th century[xxi]. as we already know that.when he argues that “be the chain as long as it may. in spite of the apparent political- theoretical potential of these concepts. and this enables us to go beyond the assertion of oppression exerted by “professional women from the First World” towards other women: “Immigrants or women from the Third World”. wherever its starts or ends. according to Badinter (1981). Hierarchies among women is characteristic of the globalization of the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.take care of their own children” (2001: 195). political and ethical dimensions.

as it carries on circumscribing care and affection to the narrow framework of the principles of kinship (marriage and family). who was left back in the immigrant woman’s country of origin. ratified by political practices and the law[xxiii]. in my view. for what reason. which is based on the assumption of –presumably universal. or whether it is done for relatives or not. as assumed by Hochschild (2001) when he insists on the “added value of affection” which someone else’s child and their mother would benefit from. the expectations and demands from the carer or the person being cared for. . these practices are reduced to essential facts which every woman has and keeps as a biological mother. whether the work is paid for and/or acknowledged. kinship and the identities and subjectivities of sexuality are defined -and redefined. minimized by the essentialization of being a woman. as well as the framework of political-economical relations within which it takes place: whoever is taken care of.practices and how gender.looking at one link or the other. darkening in this way the multiple meanings of care. In this sense. I would suggest we focus on observing the deterritorialized motherly -or fatherly.. This assertion would imply. Women are the builders of networks or communities. as an employer of immigrant women. no few studies have found a field that restores the agency to immigrant women as builders of chains within the affective links and obligations involved in maternity.in the new transnational context. putting all forms of care and the women related to it at the same level. Instead of taking such practices as gaps. whom the domestic servant will care for. or those of motherly practices as being methodological artifices in our epistemological quest to overcome “methodological nationalism”. In their effort to highlight the immigrant population’s social practices that go beyond and across borders.models of women as mothers. exclusive and separated from context” (2001:189). Another concept among those suggested by the transnational perspective is the concept of “transnational maternity”[xxiv]. from my perspective. no matter the physical distance from her beloved ones as a result of her emigrating. in the sense of “heuristical loci” set out by Provansal & Miquel (2005)[xxv] and enabling us to investigate maternity’s forms of production. avoiding stories of guilt.” This concept’s potential to make maternity more political is. in fact. does not necessarily have to be given to her employer’s son/daughter. in exchange of what. victimization or heroicism for women-mothers. if given. many of us see the carer’s love for the child as private. Transfer of love to the absent child. the builders of “transnational life. etc. they are.

taking a radical turn from the confirmation of their existence to the permanent questioning of their construction and utilization. in an attempt to counteract those stigmatized images of migration “that break up the family” when it is the women and mothers who leave their children back in their country of origin. It is in this direction where I find ethnographic approaches to be an essential contribution to the situational description of the organization of care in a context of global crisis. “immigrant”. Heike Wagner’s paper “Transnational maternity and stigmatizations of Equatorial women in Madrid: Research beyond the stereotypes” reminds us of the fact that not all women play the most important part in the upbringing of their biological children and illustrates the different roles taken by Equatorial migrant women in Madrid as mothers. rather than being taken for granted as a fact. In this direction. as they may ‘dessentialise’ what is universally known as the bond between mother and child often found in Anthropological theory[xxvi].Arguing that practices and feelings of all women who leave their biological children behind in their country of origin are driven by a bond of love between mother and child. “poor”. both from institutional. sexualized. just those categories within which we cram the subjects we carry out our research with. racialized. “mother”. Wagner focuses her analysis on renegotiating the gender roles played by these women as they question the restriction of “being-for.others” and “being- through-others” (Wagner 2007) At this point it is also important to remember those efforts made by Feminist Ethnography to show the different ways through which motherly love and care practices are expressed towards minors. who become actors in our objects of study. economic and scientific power practices and daily practices and speeches from male and female subjects. should pose a question for research. Theoretical discussion on the double or triple or quintuple discrimination. based on different variables. and their intersectionality aimed at understanding the re-experimentation and experience of different kinds of oppression will be of little success if we don’t question ourselves about such categories. I believe Ethnography can contribute largely to the review of the categories of “woman”. turning them into compendia of alterity legitimating of our Anthropological research. with an aim to de-naturalize the relation “woman = mother = carer”. “African”. and focus on the political and historical processes involved in the construction of generalized. ethnized an deterritorialized bodies in their relation to care. taken for granted. Work presented by Sandra Ezquerra in the “Fifth Congress on Migrations” .

a fruitful contribution in this sense because. we may account for the significations that underline the actor’s practices involved in its production. of their country. by extension. yet it is inmense[xxvii]. . we only have to look back on a few years to realise which social group in urban nuclei had jobs in the domestic service at that time[xxviii]. As the authors point out. The variability of conditions and differentiations – gender. race. in my view. aims at turning the bodies of Philippine workers into docile bodies. we look into the logics of differentiation and hierarchization underlying what is presented as something obvious and naturalized. through which domestic service is “produced” in today’s context. ethnicity. and also those practices and significations of the different actors involved in its reproduction and transformation. Thus. avoiding the consideration of these categories as fixed realities which are pre-existent and resulting from the situation of those subjects who work in the domestic service as ‘immigrant foreign women of national diverse origins’. or the existence of a special discriminatory regime that regulates the work-. and responsible for the wellbeing of their families and. race and ethnicity. bearing in mind the question of how relevant domestic and feminized representations are. class and migratory status- under which domestic work is carried out may not have been given enough account by Ethnographic literature. that is. through its different policies. based on its “institutional ethnography” (Ezquerra. In our research we depart conceptually from the consideration of work in the domestic service sector as a historical production framed in power practices. 2007).held in Valencia (Spain) represents. “Going beyond the differentiations and hierarchizations incorporated into domestic work as a result of the structural economic and political conditions under which the work is carried out –foreign and gender segmentation in the marketplace caused by foreign and immigration policies. Alcazar y Huete:2003 218- 219). age. Understanding domestic service in this way must follow a process of understanding domestic work as a structure of changing relations and meanings that would be appropriate for the economic and political context where it is carried out. with no sexual desire. the State is incorporated into her analysis by identifying its practices of power that “racialize and feminize female migrant Philippine workers” (2007:2). In our ethnographical work (Gregorio Alcazar y Huete 2003) we also aimed to investigate the meanings of gender. as well how the work is devalued and rendered invisible” (Gregorio. it demonstrates how the State. In the context of Spain. work taken up by ‘immigrant women’. For this author.

I suggest we widen our scope so as to include the “job of supporting daily life” as a whole. political institutions. or the so-called “proximity services” (Parella 2003).Analytically. understood as feminized sectors of work within the marketplace which are taken up by third-country foreign women from Third Countries in the context of Southern Europe[xxix]. etc. as Provensal has wittily pointed out: “The fact that those sectors in which most immigrant women work are domestic service and child/elder care logically leads to a large amount of studies being orientated to the same fields. in my view.contributing to the denaturalization of categories substantialised as ‘women’. Oso 1998). as Virginia Maquieira reminds . as it seems to be happening within the scope of migrations in Spain[xxxi]. The need to pay particular attention to “reproductive” work has not been overlooked by papers on “domestic service” (Escrivá 2000. age. I suggest studying inequalities analysing the production of ideologies and representations of gender. As the author points out “Caring for the others is the beginning and the end of human creativity”. To which I would add the danger involved in setting it up as a specialised field of study – the study of “women” or “immigrant women”. where the category of immigrant is thematized –school. unitary and homogeneous collective. community. female researchers. religion. I find it compelling to reclaim “the priority of an ontological process (to care and to be cared for) as a fundamental human necessity. turn into yet another way to reinforce the dichotomy of production/reproduction in the life of women. At the same time. work. the mass media. in analytical terms. ‘maternity’. technology. where women of the supposed culture ‘X’ or ethnicity ‘X’ are no longer represented as a mute. Following Borneman. ‘family’. Or.. as they put domestic and care services at the core of social reproduction. but rather they are considered social actors who. involuntarily contributes to the scientific naturalization of what is commonly seen as female specialisms…” (2008:342)[xxx]. kinship. paying special attention to jobs related to domestic labour could. This. sexuality and ethnicity in different contexts of social reproduction of our existence. Herranz 1998. as well as a raising entitlement of the international system” (1997:7). Taking a critical approach. these positions would contribute to overcoming the dichotomy of production/reproduction. But from a feminist perspective that aims to overcome the dichotomy of production/reproduction at the core of life’s sustainability or social reproduction.which would employ “us”.

whose endeavour has been to explore human unity in all its diversity since its emergence as a scientific discipline. this question leads us to revisiting the definitions of the category of ‘gender’. connections or influences among different cultural conceptions could not be overlooked by a science like Social Anthropology. But. In social anthropology. it comes as no surprise the existence of a large number of papers that set out to contribute to the search of fissures and continuities that shape gender systems. However. Therefore. We aim to reveal them. “assume. whether this happens from those locations that . we search for change factors in current migrations that may result from two “gender systems”: the system of origin and the system of destination. based on localized micro social studies. contributing in this way to projects of social transformation directed at the establishment of egalitarian relationships and destabilizing gender in practice and in theory. what and it what ways can feminist anthropology contribute with by looking into migratory processes and the analysis of change processes of gender relations and representations? Our research is guided by the quest to find factors capable of explaining gender inequalities in their imbrication with other social differentiations. Migratory processes. the analysis of production and change in gender relations and gender systems represents one of the most productive theorization axes since the emergence of the so-called ‘anthropology of gender’[xxxiii] and up to the present time. negotiate. understood in their social dimension as the materialization of crossings. so as to unveil and address the processes of naturalization as instruments for legitimating social inequality. an ethnographic approach allows us to deeply understand the complexity of relations. redefine questions and select distinctive features from other groups” (1998:183). Within Social Sciences.us. contributing to the transformation of gender inequalities from our feminist positions means continuing to show the way in which gender relations are built upon and transformed. identities and generic subjectivities. Undoubtedly. Undoubtedly. Change in Gender Relations and Gender Systems Change in gender relations as a result of migration has been the subject of debate for a group of female researchers from various disciplines and methodological as well as theoretical approaches from the 80s[xxxii]. ‘gender relations’ or ‘gender systems’.

for example. she draws attention to decisions on the expenditure of income. From an ethnographic point of view.2007) – which in most cases is presumed to be more egalitarian in terms of gender. Gender equality rests mainly on income which is earned . “social framework of origin” (Herrera 2005). Ángeles Ramírez. identifying the dimensions which contain it and following various analytical proposals. Thus. the change in their relationships network. sexuality and the choice of partner. Another researcher of the 90s. They travel into Spain by themselves in the early 90s. such an assumption is translated into an understanding of the category of gender in migratory processes as two internally integrated and consistent gender systems: a system belonging to the society of origin . Particularly. the higher flexibility of social control."equatorial patriarchal ideology" “socialization structures of origin” (Suarez et al.issue of Moroccan women migrations. and the actual migratory process governing her movements and those of her relatives. defying the ‘gender stratification system’ based on ‘Islamic ideology’ and consider as elements of change: the disappearance of the woman’s normative power model of Islamic ideology. “family models and gender roles in Ecuador” etc. raises the uncommon -almost unprecedented. – and a system which belongs to the receiving society -“Gender structure in the receiving society” (Suarez et al. the change of women’s relations to the marketplace. The most recently revisited papers[xxxv] work on the assumption of what I will call “dual gender systems” and this is bound to reflect on both the enunciation of their object of research and the conclusions they arrive to. the disappearance of extensive families as a model of residence.migrants are departing from.2007). and/or those locations that they are arriving in. Gregorio (1996) addresses her research problems as follows: Does the immigrant population society of origin’s stratification system have an influence on the composition according to gender found in migratory flows which take place between that society and the recipient society? And can a gendered[xxxiv] migratory process finally produce changes within the system of gender relations in the society of origin? (1996:6) She introduces as elements of the gender stratification system the sexual division of work and power relations. and the way immigrant women become supporters of their families –who they also leave behind- over and above all of its members (Ramírez 1998:27-28).2007) “gender relations in the areas of origin” (Suarez et al. understood as the ability to make decisions about one’s own life and the life of others.

and will lay the foundations for immigrant women to negotiate more egalitarian gender relations. What some authors have described as the shift from ‘supported to supporters’ (Safa 1998). despite the fact that women’s daily activities seem to be telling us otherwise. as shown by the fact that migrant women are more defiant than their partners to invest in economic projects in their societies of origin or to return to them (Escrivá 1999. leaving the “household” space. as well as the physical distance between their homes and communities in their 'societies of origin' is understood as ‘contaminant' in relation to gender. Though there are factors that limit this transformation (such as employment niches in household service and sexual work) we should certainly find a change in gender ideology according to the new situation”. autonomy and independence. the conclusions papers arrive at are as disparate as the contexts in which research has been carried out and the multiple experiences of women -might we even say from a methodologic point of view.rushed by the short time during which constant changes to the ‘gender systems’ of gender identities are sought for. as well as less husband’s control. From here on. Losses and earnings are balanced in such a way that they seem to tilt towards earnings. for example.to gain power. Based on these assumptions. in their paper “Andean indigenous women facing immigration” conclude that “the transformation of traditional roles -where man was the main household provider and women did “their” work (most of the times casual work within the household) is totally generalized”. Other authors end up tracing down the roots of the gender system prior to immigration. This is probably due to the position of symbolic . Ramirez (1998) concludes that the basis for the model of gender relations prescribed by Islamic ideology does not seem to change. Saucedo & Itzigsohn. Moreover. 2006). Being employed implies a higher availability of income. since there will be a reduction in the time dedicated to reproductive tasks.as a result of the incorporation into the labour market and from which immigrant women "will benefit". they argue that immigration would necessarily involve a change in the way gender is thought of: “migratory processes and the impact of post-fordist capitalism have resulted not only in the incorporation of women into the productive sphere but also in their presence in the public sphere. separating from their home implies a higher availability of personal time and the opportunity to decide how to use it. which seems to persist and prevent deep changes. (2007:2183-2184). allowing women -at least in theory. for example. as well as a stronger control of reproductive patterns. Thus. Thus. Suarez et al.

Their lives as immigrants and all their efforts are geared towards preserving or fulfilling a life project shared with a man. Only by establishing a relationship with a man is their immigration legitimated to their families. This complicates the situation even more when it comes to qualifying subordination” (2005:300) Even those lives of women with similar trajectories of immersion in supposed systems of gender. For Pessar. “in their daily life. migration reinforces women's bonding to their household group. "The extension of women’s role in production has upgraded their status in the domestic sphere and increased their self-confidence. on the contrary. makes a distinction between structural and daily dimensions in her analysis of changes resulting from their immigration. in her work with Ecuadorian women working in the domestic service in Spain.are subordinated to their primary identity as wives and mothers. and these women’s position as interns establishes a relation of emotional and psychological dependence that makes it difficult for them to make decisions and gain social and economic autonomy.dependency women are situated in relation to men. Immigration does not break the social scenario in which women are conceptualized but. either at origin or destination raises a complexity in which processes of gender subordination are entwined with processes of social empowering. For Ramirez. sharing of housework and budget control. the way women link their work-related activities to the reproduction of their families. It is only from there on that prestige from work or money or beauty is valuable". she concludes that women's arrival into work pushes them to the lowest levels of the social scale. The changes resulting from their taking part in the labour market –analysed by the author on three levels: authority within the household unit. class or ethnic origin seem ambiguous and contradictory. and short-circuit any more or less linear change scheme. “Moroccan immigrant women face the world from a position of respect to a man and from their bond to him. However. as . (1998:28-29) Pessar studied the identity of mothers and wives beyond changes and negotiations of their positions within the domestic group of women from the Dominican Republic in the USA and her study also seems central in the assessment of changes in gender relations. and in many cases their status is actually reinforced. economic mobility and very intense emotional wear. As for the first structural dimension. because it emerges as the most valued institution and as the social field of greater autonomy and equity for women with respect to their partner" (Pessar 1984 y 1986. quoted in Gregorio 1996:42) Also Herrera.

Pedone 2003). homes. associations-. etc. and their transnational practices are mainly linked to their home or their family” (Itzigsohm & Giorgukki-Saucedo 2002) (Golaños et al. the analysis of gender relations understood as power relations between men and women is incorporated into the so-called transnational fields –chains. productive and -in a word. Thus. From this perspective. On the one hand. This is something we notice. rather than contributing to questioning our ideas of power. and does not go indepth into the processes of . For example.1998) for women originating from the South-eastern region of the Dominican Republic who emigrated to Madrid in the early 90s. In an attempt to escape from the dualism of the gender systems ascribed to parameters of tradition-modernity (the latter understood as a conquest of gender egality). papers with a transnational focus account for the main role of women in the so-called transnational practices –the building of chains and migratory networks and consignment management.men and women as homogeneous categories. economy. Goldring’s research (2001) shows the way in which organizations carrying out transnational practices are basically dominated by men. like those mentioned. but they could also be under the society of origin or other communities” (Golaños et al. “the transnational perspective enables us to discover how migrant women are not only under the gender structure in the receiving society. families. exhibit a recurring result. political or public. Goñalons et al 2008.shown in the work by Gregorio (1996. for example. networks. and clearly distinguish the transnational practices of men or women. the family.putting them in a differentiating power relation with respect to their male counterparts (Escriva 200?. 2008:15) Observing the differentiated transnational practices of men and women. reproductive vs. entitled “Contributions and Challenges of the Transnational Perspective: A Reading of Gender”: “Various research papers. communities. considering more than two systems or gender structures opens a way that will end up reducing the category of gender to the observation of differentiated roles between men and women and contributing to reify dichotomies like social or domestic vs. 2008:6). men are more focused on transnational activities of an economic and political nature. only add to show the existence of two kinds of people with differentiated roles. On the other hand. Moreover. in the conclusions of a theoretical (review) paper by Golaños et al. the analysis opens up to a multiplicity of gender systems. which are in fact virtually dominated by them. women are more focused on activities related to their receiving society.

and reconsider the formulation of our research questions by opening different ways with regard to social change in an attempt to get us out of the ethnocentrism and linearity with which -in my view.hierarchization and production/reproduction of sexed peopled who are gendered in their relation to power and Economics. This crashes once and again with the changing realities and the multiple meanings given by agents give to facts whose meaning is universal in our research such as money. It is therefore important not to rapidly conclude that the transnational space is emancipating in itself. 2008:11) As we have already noted earlier. discovering general trends related to women’s greater independence and autonomy. etc. experiences and subjectivities are complex and difficult to handle by our structural categories of gender. transnational spaces also carry unequal relations and the establishment of certain social orders. revealing the ethnocentric assumptions implicit in the conception of change by the migratory fact. However. Women may increase their prestige and power by controlling migratory chains or the economic power of a given family. it is also true that transnational spaces may provide a greater chance to develop strategies that may overcome gender inequalities. even thought they may do it as a household servant. Without denying the relevance of migratory fact for certain women who are within the context of particular social relations. sexuality. family. love. care. Flecha. etc. ethnicity. is probably more a desire on the part of the researcher forced by their own questioning and methods than it is a reality.. class. though it does offer new scopes where to find spaces of emancipation (Suarez 2007)” (Goñalons. whether they leave or stay. disrupting our ability to establish single or multi-causal relations. A better refinement of the ethnography approach so as to identify meanings given to practices by their actors from specific locations leads us to the discussion of the very notion of ‘gender system’. Different ethnographic approaches show that women’s realities. work.this question has been formulated. Gómez. power. it is my intention to both question the simplification and generalization with which this subject is being addressed. body. Santacruz. “As it regards the analysis of gender. housework. . The transnational space as a proposal aiming to overcome the methodological nationalism of “here” and “there” turns into a new ‘gender system’ going through relationships of power where women may be able to gain independence but also be oppressed. foreignness.

men/women when trying to understand processes of change. It is like a mirror trick that reflects our image back to us. women from all continents took part mainly in short distance. the conformation of a family-based welfare system in Southern European countries. or as heroines who break off with their oppressing realities by exclusionist assumptions? Recapitulation: Revisiting the category of gender in the light of divisions of class. ethnicity and race As I and several authors have put forward.This definitely reminds us of the difficulties involved in discarding our dichotomical categories of public/private. has . The growing consumer society. Therefore. the demographer Ravestein (1989) claims that centuries ago. This is why I believe it is important to ask ourselves: Why are we worried about immigrant women and gender relations in their societies of origin? Is it not the case that we still see immigrant women as ‘others’. very close distances which could be covered by swimming or on foot are made impassable on the borders between ‘North’ and ‘South’ and ‘East’ and ‘West’?. But. In his well-known immigration laws.and the search for the motivations that push women into migrating[xxxvii]. represented as both/either victims and/or heroines? Would it be more productive to reflect upon the lenses through which we see women either as victims of their patriarchal societies and capitalism in structuralist and universalist theoretical models. how relevant are these laws to the present time. ‘traditional’. whether the proportion of women emigrating is now higher than it was years or centuries ago is something we cannot be sure of if we do not take into account that the representations of travelling or immigrant women available would be consistent with the models of femininity defined in the West and would therefore present us with a deformed reality from an andocentric and ethnocentric look[xxxvi]. as they bring up a phenomenon I do consider new in Old Europe: the “Care Crisis”[xxxviii]. so that we end up knowing more about ourselves than we know about the others. In a time when means of transportation and communication are so advanced that have made it possible for some of us to reach all corners of the world and nonetheless. where distances are shortened and at the same time made insurmountable for some citizens of the world?. as well as the growing incorporation of Spanish women into the labour market. rather than long distance migrations. I would like to put the emphasis both on the issue of the feminization of migrations -beyond the numbers. the flexibilization of the labour market -with the resulting loss of social rights-. I wish to look into it within the theoretical and political scope of their movements. market/home.

communication. Similarly. The logical answer given to this circumstance by the neo-liberal capitalist market is the production of consuming subjects –everything (except lifetime) seems buyable: emotional and psychological support[xl]. the labour market and social equilibrium achieved by gender differentiation and hierarchization is broken. material. non-commercial relations. are a product of the capitalist model’s ‘sexual contract’ and made more complex by the emergence of the new logics of domination. concentrate their efforts on strengthening their border frontiers. in all of its affective. prevented from care and self-care from social. unveiling the provision of care. and feminized bodies. Mi definition of care surpasses the boundaries of family and kinship to be understood as social responsibility – ‘Social Care’ (Daly & Lewis 1999. States with a seemingly debilitated control of their labour market. sex. the naturalization of this work has been turned into the central theme demarcating of gender and its assumption within family and kinship relationships. daughters or neighbours. social and ethical dimensions which are difficult to split (Carrasco. sexed bodies in their relation to employment. required to generate capital gain within the framework of market relations. Letablier 2007). realisation and social and political recognition will be activities contained within market relations. never entitled to benefits from the welfare state and always excluded from exercising citizenship. However.brought to light the non-paid and strongly naturalized work that women had been doing as mothers. Care work.and establishing supranational alliances so as to control immigrant manpower to remain just as it is: only manpower. Women leave their home to incorporate themselves into a life that is considered ‘productive’.sexual dimensions. del Valle ¿?. emotional. the grounds of which Pateman(1995) called ‘sexual contract’ in her condemn of female subordination. coming into light within the market circuits. etc. wives. affective. We assist to the production of masculinized body-machines. support for daily needs. who travel to and from the home and the market. rest. social and -why not say it. also essential for the production of capital gain as . In this new global context. protection. the latter turning into a lucrative object within the capitalist market[xxxix]. turning immigration into a threat to their welfare –exactly the one it is exempted from providing. Tobio). Perez Orozco.and Ethics (Gilligan 1982) and as a continuum that includes material.– and subjects capable of generating capital gain. ethnicizied and proletariatized. gender frontiers generated by the separation from the reproductive sphere -understood as domestic-[xli] and the productive sphere[xlii] -understood as work-related-. since their place of expression.

International Capital and States need bodies which are available full time. is regularized by a recently passed law. but does not substantially improve females’ rights and their entitlements as workers and citizens[xlv] and shifts women’s position from invisibility to hipervisibility. ‘intimacy’ or ‘privacy’. Thus.through the devaluation of work belonging to ‘females’.providers of care. Care work will take a preliminary position within market relations as it incorporates the meanings of ‘home’ and ‘household’[xliii]. intensive agriculture. The Care Crisis emerges with the de-territoralization of productive and reproductive life in women’s bodies. The so-called biopower (Foucault 1979) or politics on the bodies will go from the hipersexualization. and moral preservation[xlix] and this are relations where ethnic . but again as a subject of debate for public policies. It is no coincidence that the ‘family carer’ or ‘the carer of dependant people’ as a new sector of precarious labour which -as we all know. in order to maximize their profits from industries like the sex industry. the building industry. This law gives work that belongs to the so-called ‘casual carers[xliv]’ back to women. Women must be sweet and loving but at the same time reaffirming of their maternal qualities of service or submission to the others. street/house or bad/good woman. they shouldn’t be too ‘culturally different’ from the imaginary of the ‘good mother and wife’[xlvii]. into the naturalization involved in its quality of affection or feminized love. the model of femininity upon which we build the ‘others’ ethnic differences oscillates between the polarities whore/mother. ethnicitization and racialization of the sex industry to the asexuation and de- ethnicitization or de-racialization[xlvi] of the domestic care market. domestic service workers’ sexual desires will pose a threat and must therefore be inexistent. by extension. Basically. Work relations inside the ‘household’ –domestic service and. If the sex market’s field of non-reproductive sexuality highlights sexual and racial marks as valuable. take place in a framework of (ma)paternalist. the service sector or the newborn industry of the so-called ‘proximity services’. certain jobs in agriculture as an elongation of the employer’s ‘house’[xlviii]-. presented as the fourth pillar of the Welfare State’s -the “Dependency Law”. Moreover.will be taken up by females. saving on the social costs involved in supporting the care required by our existence within a sustainable project of humanity on a planetary level. The logics of gender inequality in social reproduction are held in the new context as femininity is subject to the production of benefits for the marketplace -both inside and outside the household.

feminization. Maria Espinosa. racialization and ethnicitization. while the low cost employment of workers in domestic and all kinds of care provision. and this is something we see in the externalization of domestic work. Herminia Gonzalvez. Basically. Begoña Pecharromán. where there is an appropriation and exploitation of knowledge. letters.on which the postfordist capitalist logic supports itself forces us to rethink the generic constructions on the dichotomies domestic/public and home/factory. The imbrication of inequalities –gender. ethnicity. Ana Alcazar. the commercialization of domestic work and support for daily life and its precarization. at least by means of three simultaneous processes: the de-territorization of sexed bodies within the domestic space. 2003). where the dividing line between work and non-work is virtually inexistent. [ii] I use the term migration . thus assuring care and self-care.[li] [i] I wish to thank Txemi Apaolaza.and gender representations are entwined with the reproduction of ‘good women’ as a replacement for the good ‘mother-wives’ (Lagarde). remittances. in order to replace those women who had been caring for their relatives. built upon the meanings of affection and care that are supposedly outside market relations to have them produce capital gain. wishes and subjectivities generating non- recognized profits. Telephone calls.as I wish to . so that they can also be employed full time. y Ana Rodríguez for reading and commenting on this paper ‘s first draft as well as Teresa del Valle for encouraging me to return to this subject of analysis. the capitalist market keeps on reasserting differences of gender. and communicational dimensions are strategically denied and exploited” (2008:201). It can be argued that at present. return tickets for travelling and presents are all part of the expressions of care towards relatives and friends of sexed and displaced bodies. As Alvarez (2008) pointed out in his paper on migrant women from Russia and Ukraine: “In informational and cognitive capitalism. affection and sex services will be the option taken by other sexed bodies. social life is meant to produce. as it cannot afford losing ‘capital gain on generic dignity[l]’. computer chats.not immigration or emigration. Carmen Díez. production is located in symbolic flows (Marazzi. foreignness. The sex market and the care market employ foreign manpower and require bodies which are available full time. Maggi Bullen. to the extent that the productive sphere colonizes the reproductive sphere.

I conducted two projects on social intervention for the Social Services Department of Madrid’s local council at the time when plans and projects of integration aimed at the immigrant population were beginning to emerge in 1994-1997.include the field of studies that analyse migratory processes without necessarily prioritizing the context of the receiving countries or the countries of origin. A project of social intervention with the immigrant population of Aravaca-Moncloa” and the .and the now emerging transnational theory. [v] See Gregorio Gil (1996. as well as those which incorporate both contexts or their dissolution from the so-called transnational perspective. in societies of origin in connection with problems of development and change. modernization. questioning the discursive and political centrality of the unified woman subject. These two projects were “The Intercultural Communitarian Office (OCI). Maquieira suggests the category ‘wide movement of the women’ as the new theoretical and practical space to refer to a movement whose presence –together with other social movements- fractures old paradigms of political action and social sciences. I am referring to those papers focused on immigrant population in the context of reception. Therefore. [vii] See Gregorio & Franzé (1999) for a critical analysis of the other’s cultural building process from public instances intervening in migratory issues. and with an international scope in the early 80s (Gregorio Gil 2007). and the postgraduate Diploma and Master of Arts in Intercultural Mediation organized by the department of social anthropology at the University of Granada on demand by the Junta de Andalucía (Andalusian Regional Council) [ix] As a social anthropologist. Madrid. [viii] Some examples are the Intercultural Mediation Service offered to the local council of Madrid by the department of social anthropology at the capital’s Universidad Autónoma . 1997) [vi] See Gregorio &Franzés(1999) for a critical analysis of proposals with a gender approach which draws on the dominant theories on migrations in those years –dependence. and articulation. [iii] We observe production of a significant corpus of literature on the subject with a national scope towards the end of the 90s. [iv] Following Vargas (1991:195).

Narotzky. which have highlighted both the benefits obtained by the international capitalist system from foreign female manpower and the identification of “production” mechanisms of particular occupation. Siskind (1978) [xiii] See reviews of the works by Boserup in Benería and Sen (1981) Wright (1983) and Guyer (1984). economics. Coward (1983) and Edholm et al (1977) [xvi] See also Robertson (1991) [xvii] In an attempt to avoid any kind of academia narcisism. Tobío & Diáz Gonfinkiel (2003) among others. taken up by racialized immigrant women from feminist marxist perspectives.“Project for the prevention and insertion of immigrant’s and other families’ children in the Centre and Aganzuela areas”. http://www. London. Sacks (1979). Mora Quiñones. with regards to the work by Goody see Harris (1981) and Narotzky (1995) [xiv] See different ethnographic examples in Hirschon (1984) [xv] See feminist critique to the work of Engels in Vogel (1983). London. References to my work “Female migration. Migration and Female Labour. the genealogy I traced forces me to refer to myself. e. which are usually carried out inside the household. ….. cleaning. kinship and politics from feminist critique in Gregorio Gil (2002) Moore. and domestic service. [xii] See Godelier (1976a. Ribas (1998. 1983. [x] It includes all jobs related to care.art-mirall.htm [xviii] With the exception of papers like those by Annie PHIZACKLEA & Robert MILES: Labour and Racism.g. [xi] See the work by Escribá (2000) Parella (2003. but are done contractually. . Routledge & Kegan Paul.org/proyecto/mora. [xix] A good compilation of contributions to the concepts of culture. I also participated in the designing of the Plan for the social integration of immigrant population at Parla’s Local Council. Its impact on gender relationships” published in 1998 may be seen in later publications in Spain and Latin America. Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1980 and Annie PHIZACKLEA: One Way Ticket. 2002) Solé 1998. developing the “Research and Action on the immigrant collective of the town of Parla”. 2006). 1977).

methodologies and research techniques that may enable us to apprehend. [xxiv] See the works by Parella y Calvanti (2007). (2008) . [xxiii] For a critique on how anthropological knowledge has reduced the study on the ways to care and be cared for. it is an epistemological problem turned into an identity mark by the ‘transnational perspective’. social anthropology has been addressing the problem of the de-territorialization of subjects as well as the need for establishing conceptual frameworks. as the context of migrant population’s arrival (receiving country or nation) or binarily (nation or country of origin). and the female servants. clothing-. which also makes excellent ethnography to question the much naturalized and morally unquestionable ‘maternal instinct’ [xxvii] See for example Sanjek & Colen (1990) [xxviii] For this issue see Sarasúa (1994). for whom “microsocial behaviour and phenomena have a heuristic value looking ahead to the transformations acting on the social body”” (2005:120) [xxvi] A good review of this related literature is included in the works by Nancy Sheper-Hughes (). who draws a distinction between male servants. either unitarily. where we would find . the appearance of work by Badinter is owed to Txemi Apaolaz [xxii] Mothers. Suarez (2004) among others. female writers are inspired by Alain Tarrius (1989). sisters. see Bonerman (1997). food. [xxi] Here. 1998). mothers-in-law. among whom we would find butlers and whose functions include the household’s financial management and to whom the other servants are subordinated to.[xx] It implies setting up the subject and context of study within the boundaries of the national territory. Since the 80s. we should reflect upon the theoretical and political content behind the rising of this new concept within the theory on migrations. other relatives and the so-called ‘chopas’ in a derogatively way and who are paid for their domestic services or exchanged for basic life-sustaining goods –shelter. would make up the links in the social reproduction chain of migrant workers in the domestic service and work in the middle-class homes in Madrid (Gregorio Gil 1996. Pedone (2003). represent and interpret these realities. Thus. Golaños et al. [xxv] With an aim to understand certain social dynamics as heuristic loci.

1987). Brettell (2003) y Gonzalvez (2007) [xxxiii] I use ‘gender anthropology’ to refer to the moment of theorization in social anthropology when there is a denaturalization of the very notion of gender and women that had been handled by the Structuralist and Marxist schools. diLeonardo (1991a).stewardesses. At the first one neither domestic service nor proximity services are even mentioned and at the second one domestic service will arise only when it comes to quantifying this occupational sector. Morgen (1989). . See Provensal y Miquel (2005) [xxxi] It does not escape our attention the fact that. del Valle Lamphere (1977. However. during the latest National Congress on migrations held at the University of Valencia in February 2007. Scheper-Hughes (1983). As regards the free papers presented at this board.1996). [xxxii]See references to some of these papers in Gregorio Gil (1995. the two papers at the board called “Economics and Trade Market” were presented by two economists. as the trusted servants of the rich household’s ladies. Rapp (1979). who give them advice on their looks and appearance. Rogers (1978). Needless to say. [xxix] See the work compilation included in the book published by Anthias & Lazardis (2000) [xxx] In this direction. where all participants were researchers. resulting in the discussions and main proposals for the conceptualization of the category of ‘gender’. One of them focused the discussion on the formation of an external employment service in the context of the debate about the Spanish State of Autonomies (Rojo 2007) and the other one focused on the legal framework and the “problematic employment-related issues of foreigners in Spain” (Pérez 2007). the discussion on the dichotomy production/reproduction did have its place in this congress: a board called “Gender and Immigration”. Quinn (1977). This field’s designation or critical approach within the discipline is an issue that has been defined and redefined according to the way it is presented since the rise of the so-called ‘anthropology of women’ in the 70s and for which the following states of the art may be consulted: Atkinson (1982). Mukhopadhyay & Higgins (1988). feminist critique based on Economics was absent from both boards. the writer has focused her research with immigrant women on those activities where women are a minority –the trade and crafts industry-. only one of the 18 papers that were published dealt with the situation of immigrant women in the domestic service (Aguilar 2007).

As for a critique of the way anthropological theory has transferred western models of femininity when interpreting ‘other societies’. women emigration has been linked to facts such as the ‘feminization of poverty’ (Cobo 200?. pgs: 12-13 and the works by “precarias a la deriva” on the “Eskalera Karakola” website http://www.net/karakola/ [xxxix] It is a well known fact that the sex industry is the second most profitable business in the world. Stack. (1975) and Tiffany (1982) in their contributions to trace the genealogy of a feminist anthropology in anthropology.Schlegel (1977).sindominio. Pedone (2006) Suárez (2007) Suarez & Crespo (2007). [xli] The reproduction sphere of those relations focused on the provision of material. of ‘other’ women. [xl] Questions which are beginning to be the topic of philosophical essays. see for example “Liquid Love” by Zygmunt Bauman or journalistic essays like “Global Sex” by Dennis Altman. [xxxiv] [xxxv] For example Anadón & Castañón (2007 ). See Gregorio Gil (1997) for a feminist critique on the notion of gender and immigrant subject involved in this view. Herrera (2005). then called ‘Anthropology of Women’ [xxxvii] I am referring specifically to those papers guided by the assumption that motivations driving males and females to emigrate are different. there are many papers: see for example those compiled by Harris & Young (1979) in the decade of the emerging feminist anthropology. Meñaca (2005). 2005. affective and sexual welfare within the “household” and the quintessential feminine space. Oso 1998) or the ‘feminization of survival’ Sassen-Koob (2003) [xxxviii] See the special heading “La Crisis De Los Cuidados” (“The Care Crisis”) in the journal “Diagonal” 3rd-16th of March. [xxxvi] See the heading inside the book “Las que Saben” (The ones who know) by Dolores Juliano dealing with this issue (1998:99-102). López (2007). Based upon other structuralist approaches. Gonzalvez (2007). . where I am situated (Gregorio Gil 2002). In these papers ‘autonomous’ migration of females is usually presented as the fail- safe proof of their breaking with the ‘gender oppressing system in their societies of origin’. social. Gregorio 1996.

the focus of political life. [xlv] See CGT (2006) for a criticism of the law [xlvi] I am referring to the process of assignation and reassignation of features which are considered valuable for carrying out the work derived from an alleged ‘ethnonational’. ‘ethnoracial’ or ‘ethnolingüistic’ origin. The writer claims that males grab those powers of care and love from women without equally giving back what they received and this exploitation would leave women without the ability to rebuild their emotional reservoirs and their assets of self- confidence and authority (Jonasdottir 1993:128 en Cobo 2005:288). [xlvii] See.[xlii] The reproduction sphere of relations inside the logics of the market outside the ‘home’. among others. Martín Díaz y Sabuco (2006). [xlix] See the works by Gregorio Gil (2007) for an analysis of the meanings taken by work in the household in a ‘family house’ as guarantee of women’s sexual moral. which is intangible but at the same time specific work of care and love with the potential to generate capital gain in the context of the capitalist market. I think it is an appropriate term to talk of sexed work. Alcazar & Huete (2003). [xliii] See Alvarez Veinguer (2007) for the meanings of ‘household’ as an expression of the sexed universe. and whose contracts include the provision of accommodation and food allowance on the part of the employer. [xlviii] I am referring to employment in agriculture which is usually seasonal. [li] . Reigada (2007). which is quintessentially masculine. Though I would not agree with the role given to men as main beneficiaries and the place women would be left in after being ‘exploited’. the ethnographic papers showing these cultural constructions: Gregorio. [xliv] Women who spend a great deal of time caring for their families within the framework of obligations and duties as prescribed by kinship. [l] Anna Jónasdóttir uses this term to refer to the deeply rooted ‘reproductive tax’ that women must pay as domestic carers.