Helma Lutz, born in Hildesheim, Germany, in 1953. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam and Universität Münster. Associate Professor at the Education Department from the Universität Münster.
Fellow (1 September 2004 – 30 June 2005)
DOMESTIC WORK IN A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.
My research deals with a topical phenomenon and that is the increasing demand for domestic workers and carers of children and the elderly in German households since the beginning of the twenty-first century. This demand has been met by migrant women and some men from Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia who work in German homes without employment contracts and often without regular residence permits. The project focuses on three areas: First, the nature of the new domestic work and the construction of an intercultural space of communication in the household. Second, how the migrant women, many of whom are highly educated professionals, rhyme their work and experiences as a domestic worker with their (trans-national) identity and sense of self. Third, the role of networks in migration and the negotiation of domestic work in the informal labour market.
I came to NIAS with the transcripts of more than 70 qualitative interviews, each comprising 30 – 50 pages, of which about 15 were analysed according to the hermeneutical case-study analysis. I had also collected relevant excerpts from about 150 articles and books on the topic of migration, gender, domestic work and illegality. The aim of my stay was to write at least four chapters of the monograph “Die Neue Dienstmädchenfrage im Zeitalter der Globalisierung” [The New Maids Question in the Age of Globalisation]. I edited the conference volume following the conference: “Postkolonialismus und Erinnerungskultur. Blinde Flecken im kollektiven Gedächtnis der Niederlande und Deutschlands” (April 2004). [Postcolonialism and the Culture of Memory. Blind Spots in the Collective Memory of the Netherlands and Germany].
Both projects were achieved and I also organised the international conference “Migration and domestic work in global perspective” at NIAS, May 26 – 29 2005 where different methodological and theoretical approaches to domestic work in late modern societies were discussed.