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Introduction: Domestic and Care Work at the Intersection of Welfare, Gender and Migration Regimes: Some European Experiences

  • Majella Kilkey (a1), Helma Lutz (a2) and Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck (a3)

Research over the last decade and more, has documented a resurgence of paid domestic and care labour (that is, work performed for pay in private households, such as household cleaning and maintenance and care for elders/disabled/children) across the Global North.1 Much of the research has revealed the increasing reliance on migrant, as opposed to home-state, domestic workers, and it has been suggested (Lutz, 2007: 4) that domestic and care work has contributed more than any other sector of the labour market to one of the key features of the ‘age of migration’ (Castles and Miller, 2009) – its feminisation. At the same time though, as Linton's (2002) research on immigrant-niche formation in the USA suggests, the availability of immigrants in itself, has probably contributed to the growth of the sector.

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