Between women : domestics and their employers /

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Main Author: Rollins, Judith.
Format: Book
Series:Labor and social change.
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Domestic workers, the lowest paid and most exploited group of the employed, are also the least written about, perhaps because writers do not wish to face up to their own participation as exploiters. Rollins approaches her topic both as a sociologist and as a subject. As a researcher, she took part in her own study by working as a domestic for several families for varying lengths of time. Her insights into the unique relationship between women employers and employees are quite striking. Rollins emphasizes the exploitative nature of the servant-employer relationship. Forms of psychological exploitation-such as controlling worker space, calling the employee by first name, and treating the employee as a ``nonperson'' or like a child (a phenomenon referred to as ``maternalism'')-are a few of the techniques used to belittle the domestic worker. Forms of physical exploitation-overwork, low wages, and nonbenefits-are also characteristic. Rollins includes both a history of domestic work and a sociological interpretation of the experience in this contemporary study of one of the world's oldest professions. An important and meaningful work, especially for students of labor, women's studies, and ethnic studies. All levels.-H. Alonso, Mercy College

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