The Force of Domesticity

Filipina Migrants and Globalization

224 pages

1 illustrations

August, 2008

ISBN: 9780814767351



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Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of American Civilization at Brown University. She is the author of Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration and Domestic Work and Children of Global Migration: Transnational Families and Gendered Woes, and the co-editor of Asian Diasporas: New Conceptions, New Formations.

All books by Rhacel Salazar Parrenas

Taking as her subjects migrant Filipina domestic workers in Rome and Los Angeles, transnational migrant families in the Philippines, and Filipina migrant entertainers in Tokyo, Parreñas documents the social, cultural, and political pressures that maintain women’s domesticity in migration, as well as the ways migrant women and their children negotiate these adversities.

Parreñas examines the underlying constructions of gender in neoliberal state regimes, export-oriented economies such as that of the Philippines, protective migration laws, and the actions and decisions of migrant Filipino women in maintaining families and communities, raising questions about gender relations, the status of women in globalization, and the meanings of greater consumptive power that migration garners for women. The Force of Domesticity starkly illustrates how the operation of globalization enforces notions of women’s domesticity and creates contradictory messages about women’s place in society, simultaneously pushing women inside and outside the home.


  • “Stands by itself as a study of Filipina work-related issues within the Philippines and overseas in the 160 countries in which Filipina domestic workers find themselves. . . . Recommended.”


  • “We found this book to be a compelling analysis of the plight of Filipina emigrants.”

    Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books

  • The Force of Domesticity offers fresh perspectives on the complex linkages of gender and globalization that connect the world today. Through a multi-site analysis of Filipino women, Parreñas shows how domesticity, remittances, and NGO and state-imposed notions of morality conspire to create new structures of inequalities and opportunities for transnational migrant women.”

    —Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, author of Domestica

  • “This forceful study is as ethnographically gripping as it is theoretically sophisticated. Parreñas’s incisive examination leads us to new analytic terrain by dispelling the myths of globalization.”

    —David L. Eng, author of Racial Castration