"Cleaning and Ironing… with a Smile": Migrant Workers in the Care Industry in France

Francesca Scrinzi

DOI: 10.2190/WR.14.3.b


This article aims to contribute to current debates about the "international division of care," by dealing with the development of the "care industry" as an employment sector for migrants. Most studies focus on the traditional forms of domestic service in the private sphere: this obscures employment in other settings such as companies providing home-based domestic service. In France, this sector has been dynamic in recent years, thanks to public policies that have aimed to promote employment through tax exemptions. The article analyzes the intensification of work in such companies, which is based on time constraints and the pressure of customer demand. It also compares this sector with work in other settings such as living-out cleaning jobs in direct employment. It identifies similarities and discontinuities between the two sectors with regard to the forms of labor control, the ideology through which work relationships are constructed, and the employees' strategies.

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