(Re)making Live-in or Live-out Choice: The Lived Experience of Filipina Migrant Domestic Workers in Macao

Bei Ju, Xiao Yang (Corresponding), Xiao Hong Pu, Todd Sandel

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Abstract

Migrant domestic workers’ (MDWs) out-of-home flexibility and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic open up opportunities to examine the intrinsic reasons driving their decision-making in live-in/live-out patterns. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with 18 female, Filipina MDWs in Macao, the study reveals that live-in MDWs sacrifice their subjectivity to save money, whereas live-out MDWs’ create an empowering space for privacy, romantic relationships and outgoing activities with friends. However, strict surveillance during the pandemic weakened MDWs’ capacities in their home-making journey. Additionally, digital surveillance by itself does not act as the primary stimulus for Filipina MDWs to dwell outside, due to their willingness to compromise with nanny cameras and the good relations built with the employers. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that MDWs’ home-making is dynamically embedded in relational and spatial tensions, providing valuable insights into the studies on domestic work, homing and surveillance. 
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Place & Culture
Early online date1 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Empowering space
  • Filipina MDWs
  • live-in/live-out
  • social-spatial relations
  • surveillance

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