How States See Household Workers: The Politics of Regulating Domestic Service in 20th-Century Latin America

Friday, January 5, 2018: 9:30 AM
Columbia 5 (Washington Hilton)
Elizabeth Q. Hutchison, University of New Mexico
This paper will examine the “politics of care work” from the perspective of state regulation of domestic service in twentieth-century Latin America. Since the earliest decades of the twentieth century, household work and its regulation has been a recurring focus of legislative projects in many Latin American countries, including the social reformist projects of Batllista Uruguay, post-revolutionary Mexico, and Chile’s labor code, the partisan efforts of Cold War Peronism and Chilean socialism, and the global- and feminist-oriented campaigns of the 1990s. Drawing on my recent publications with Inés Pérez on domestic service laws in Chile and Argentina, along with recent research on household workers throughout the region, I will offer a regional and comparative interpretation of domestic service and state regulation in twentieth-century Latin America. This paper will also foreground the causal relationships between Latin American legislative efforts, foreign models and publications, and international organizations (including the ILO and the Catholic Church), thereby facilitating broader comparative discussion of the politics of care work on the panel.

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