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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1997

Pierrette Hondagneu‐Sotelo

This article uses the case of paid domestic work in Los Angeles to argue that affluent and middle‐class members of U.S. society constitute important participants in the…

Abstract

This article uses the case of paid domestic work in Los Angeles to argue that affluent and middle‐class members of U.S. society constitute important participants in the informal economy. In‐depth, tape‐recorded interviews conducted with thirty‐five employers of nannies and house cleaners, and survey responses of 154 Latina house cleaners and nannies shows that compliance with government regulations, as indicated by payment of Social Security, Medicare and federal tax withholdings, are rare. Affluent citizens may not directly depend on informally generated income, but as employers of paid domestic workers and nannies, they do depend on informally organized and remunerated services. Employers of paid domestic workers rely on three major narrative strategies to distance themselves from the regulations, arguing that the standards should be followed by certain categories of people (attorneys, celebrities, the very wealthy), that the regulations apply only to those employing full‐time help, and that the regulations are illegitimate because both undocumented workers and the state lack legitimacy. These rationalizations allow them to simultaneously condemn Zoe Baird and yet follow the same practices. Upgrading the occupation requires state support and the education of employers. This process would lead to greater recognition of paid domestic work as an occupation, one that merits the protections and regulatory guidelines governing other jobs.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Thinking Home on the Move
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-722-5

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Glenda M. Flores and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo

This chapter explains why college-educated Latinas, the daughters of working-class Latino immigrant parents, are disproportionately entering the teaching profession in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter explains why college-educated Latinas, the daughters of working-class Latino immigrant parents, are disproportionately entering the teaching profession in the United States.

Methodology/approach

This qualitative study relies on secondary statistical data, an analysis of regional trends and 40 in-depth face-to-face interviews with Latina teachers that work in Southern California elementary schools.

Findings

Teaching has traditionally been a white woman’s occupation, but it is now the number one career drawing college-educated Latina women, who are entering the teaching profession at greater rates than African Americans or Asian Americans. Current scholarship posits that teaching is a career that resonates with Latina women’s racial-ethnic solidarity and feminine sense of duty to help others. In this chapter, we show how class background is also a key in understanding why the teaching profession has emerged as the top occupational niche for college-educated Latina women. While racial uplift, gender ideals, and family socialization help explain why college-educated Latinas are going into teaching, we add an emphasis on socio-economic class, demographic and structural context, and collectively informed agency.

Research limitations/implications

This study sheds light on the factors that shape upward mobility and career outcomes in white-collar jobs for minority students and second generation Latinas, the children of immigrants.

Originality/value

This chapter offers a sociological analysis that suggests Latina teachers navigate their educational and career choices with collective-informed agency and strong obligations to family members. To best understand why Latina/Chicana college graduates are increasingly concentrated in the teaching profession, we advocate an intersectionalities approach that takes class seriously.

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Immigration and Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-632-4

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Book part
Publication date: 10 December 2018

Ruth Milkman

This chapter compares and contrasts organizing and advocacy among US domestic workers and day laborers. These two occupations share many features: both are ill-suited to…

Abstract

This chapter compares and contrasts organizing and advocacy among US domestic workers and day laborers. These two occupations share many features: both are ill-suited to conventional unionism; immigrants, many of them unauthorized, have long dominated the workforce in both; both are entry-level jobs at the bottom of the labor market (although both are also internally stratified); and both have been the focus of advocacy and organizing at both the local and national level in recent decades. Yet, there are also significant contrasts between the two. First and foremost, women are the vast majority of domestic workers while men predominate among day laborers. Another striking difference is that while domestic labor is hidden from public view inside private households, day laborers are regularly on display on street corners and other public spaces. This chapter explores the effects of such similarities and differences on the collective action repertoires of day laborers and domestic workers. In both cases, many workers have individualistic, entrepreneurial ambitions, a formidable organizing challenge; yet, orientation does not necessarily impede and sometimes even facilitates collective action. Day laborers’ demands are largely economic, and these (predominantly male) workers often hope to return to their countries of origin; domestic workers (overwhelmingly female) are more interested in improved opportunities within the US. Although women are overrepresented in the leadership of both domestic workers’ and day laborers’ organizations, male day laborers and female domestic workers have distinct experiences and aspirations, and put forward different types of demands, generating gendered collective action repertoires.

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Gendering Struggles against Informal and Precarious Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-368-5

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Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2014

Michelle Brown

Metaphorically, the garden invokes a repertoire of skills, arts, and virtues that run counter to the act of confinement but are embedded in its disciplinary practice…

Abstract

Metaphorically, the garden invokes a repertoire of skills, arts, and virtues that run counter to the act of confinement but are embedded in its disciplinary practice: spaces in punitive environments where care, growth, health, and cultivation are emphasized. Gardens and the force of law and labor are foregrounded in Judeo-Christian myths, in slavery, and in prison farms as spaces of expulsion and brutality. Yet as abandoned, fortress-style prisons dilapidate, and vines and weeds break through concrete, we can begin to ask, What might it mean to imagine the prison through the lens of the garden?

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Special Issue: The Beautiful Prison
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-966-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1997

Robert Aponte

Informal economic activities appear to constitute a growing component of all economic transactions in the US and some other industrialized nations, despite the traditional…

Abstract

Informal economic activities appear to constitute a growing component of all economic transactions in the US and some other industrialized nations, despite the traditional view that such activities would dissipate with advanced capitalism (cf Castells and Portes 1989, Tanzi 1982). The study of these activities, particularly by sociologists, has likewise grown in recent years. For example, at the 1995 ASA annual meetings in Washington DC, a formal session was devoted entirely to such work, an annual feature of recent vintage. That year's session produced some six papers, five case studies with a US focus and a general typology on informal work, which are reviewed here. As a group, these papers provide numerous insights into various aspects of informal work in the US. Yet, in the end, they raise at least as many questions as they answer, no doubt a reflection of the infancy of the field of study.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Abstract

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Immigration and Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-632-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1997

Patricia Fernandez Kelly

The two chapters in this section present an invaluable opportunity to reflect upon the advances made, and challenges still to be surmounted in the study of gender and…

Abstract

The two chapters in this section present an invaluable opportunity to reflect upon the advances made, and challenges still to be surmounted in the study of gender and development. In the late nineteen‐seventies, when the field was expanding, the enthusiasm over innovative research was equaled only by the expectation that the study of gender would soon issue a theoretical corpus of sharp descriptive and explanatory potential, and broad in its capacity for generalization. That goal has not been fully realized, and the reasons, historical as well as ideological, deserve attention.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Abstract

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Immigration and Work
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-632-4

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