Dani Magsumbol, Politics, York University
Bettio et al., in their analysis of care work in the Mediterranean, put forward the thesis that there has been a “transition from a ‘family’ model of care to a ‘migrant in the family’ model of care” (2006, 272). I explore how the work of social reproduction in Canada has experienced a similar transition, one that has led to a new model of care—the “migrant as part of the family.” I investigate the process of how migrant workers in Canada who provide this labour are incorporated into the family units of their employers. This process of inclusion is presented as a positive act, one that is representative of the tolerance and acceptance that migrants can expect in multicultural Canada. However, the incorporation of the migrant worker leads to the obfuscation of the wage relationship and the exploitation of the worker; it creates conditions that attempt to subsume labour that is paid for by a wage, into labour that is expected as part of the social, affective relationship between and amongst family members. Thus, the collapsing of the lines between what is considered to be waged work and what is considered to be a labour of love invisibilizes the family unit’s dependency on and ongoing exploitative consumption of transnational, affective labour—in the Canadian case, often provided by women of Filipino descent.
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