Domestic Workers in the Middle East
Status Enhancement and Degradation in Arab Households
Routledge – 2014 – 240 pages
Millions of women from poor countries migrate to the Middle East to undertake domestic work in order to support their families at home. This book examines the slavery-like conditions of these female migrant domestic workers, with specific reference to the Kafala system of sponsorship.
Using Lebanon as a case study, the author sheds light on how human rights and labour rights abuses are perpetuated, despite attempts by activists in these countries to introduce attitudinal, cultural and legislative reform. He highlights the structural as well as cultural dimensions that make migrant domestic workers vulnerable to abuse, and looks at the need for reforms to democratize the system with fundamental rights for migrant workers. The analysis covers a number of dimensions, including all forms of abuse, restriction of freedom and economic exploitation, and explores the psychodynamics of the migrant domestic worker as a stranger in the household.
A timely contribution to the study of migrant workers, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of sociology, anthropology, globalization, gender studies, labour rights, international labour and migration studies.
1. Introduction 2. Studies of Migrant Domestic Workers in the Middle East and Internationally 3. Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination 4. Power and Control in the Household 5. Sexuality and the Servant 6. Comparison of Lebanon and Egypt 7. Civil Society and Social Action 8. Conclusion
Ray Jureidini is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Migration Studies at the Lebanese American University.