‘Like family’. Collective action, everyday life and political subjectivity of domestic and care workers

This doctoral thesis project covers the collective action processes of domestic workers in Madrid through associations and collectives, from a perspective that focuses on the conditions of possibility of these mobilizations but prioritizes the politics inserted in the daily lives of the women who are part of the movement, shifting the centrality of work to the centrality of life.

This research is especially relevant due to the current problematization of care from the different settings in which it is provided, whether in families, residences, home care services or community initiatives. Based on the idea that one of the evidences that we are talking about a care crisis (Pérez-Orozco, 2006) is that there is a large number of women who are taking charge of supplying care at a very low cost, these same women should also be the protagonists of the research that emerges from a social anthropology centered on care.

Moreover, the vision of “the political” in this thesis is very broad and goes outside the channels of traditional social movement studies. This is especially relevant because there is an absence of work that focuses on the daily lives and experiences of domestic workers as part of collectives that base much of their activity on political advocacy. Women and migrants have been relegated and not considered political subjects in the social sciences, and also in social anthropology, and that is why this work aims to shed light on a topic that has been little explored from an ethnographic perspective.

Through this research we intend to revalue associations and collectives in their role as producing and mobilizing agents, with their own agency. The relationships of sociability, mutual support and care that are established in them help to think of them as spaces of containment that impact and shape the subjectivity of the women who participate in them.