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Assembling webs of support: child domestic workers in India

Wasiuzzaman, S. and Wells, Karen (2010) Assembling webs of support: child domestic workers in India. Children & Society 24 (4), pp. 282-292. ISSN 1099-0860.

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This paper uses ethnographic and qualitative interview data with Muslim child domestic workers, their families and employers to investigate the social ties between young workers and their employers. Our analysis shows that working-class families use children’s domestic work with middle-class families as part of a web of resources to protect them from economic shocks and to enable them to afford to meet the cost of social obligations. We show that in this particular context, a town in Uttar Pradesh in north India, hiring domestic workers locks employers into relations of social obligation with their employees and their families. We conclude that these webs of support are enabled precisely because the domestic workers are children and not adults; their status as children makes it possible for the labour contract to be mystified and reconfigured as a social relationship.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): caste, child labour, class, domestic work, gifts
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2010 15:02
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:19

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