Temporary service? Domestic work and the life cycle from pre-industrial times to the present day, viewed from a global perspective


In recent years, labor history has taken a “global turn” and the focus has increasingly been on labor relations in the non-Western context. This article aims to challenge existing perceptions of the history of domestic work in Europe from a global labor history perspective, by comparing as well as connecting the histories of domestic workers globally. It addresses continuities and discontinuities in domestic work in relation to the life cycle around the world. As recent as the new international division of labor may seem, within the context of globalization and women’s emancipation, it also builds on much older patterns of migration, colonial relations and gender and ethnic stereotypes.


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