Motherhood as the Value of Labour The Migrant Domestic Workers' Market in Turkey

Akalin A. Z.

AUSTRALIAN FEMINIST STUDIES, vol.30, no.83, pp.65-81, 2015 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 83
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/08164649.2014.998451
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.65-81
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


This article concerns migrant domestic labour. It departs from existing analyses of such labour by examining the place of workers' mobility and workers' intimate life histories in the valorisation of migrant domestic labour. Drawing on insights from the literature on the autonomy of migration and on affective labour, this article argues that migrant domestic workers' status as mobile bodies infused with affective histories of maternal care is critical in the constitution of a market for their labour. This history endows migrant domestic workers' labour with unprecedented value, not least because the worker is expected to exude the affects of motherhood authentically in the home of her employer. The analysis forwarded here demands a new understanding of the operations of global care chains and transnational motherhood.