Care for Sale


In homes and brothels around the world, migrant women are selling a unique commodity: care. Care for Sale is an in-depth ethnography of a group middle-class women from Latin America who exchange care and intimacy for money while working as domestic and sex workers in London. Illuminating the complexities of care work, the proposed book is a detailed study of women’s lives and working conditions. It considers how their experience of migration and intimate labor is one of rupture. It both enables and forces them gradually to reconstitute themselves, in their host city, as people quite distinct from their “normal” selves back home.

Care for Sale broadens the scope of previous ethnographic studies that focus on one occupation or the other but fail to consider the relationships between them. The ethnography illustrates the connections and the factors that affect women’s choices between these forms of work, including, but not limited to, their concerns about money and morality. It moves away from a narrow focus on migration and labor to focus instead on the creation and (re)creation of persons; on the ways in which people fashion themselves, and cultivate difference, inequality or commonality as part of their self-making projects. By doing this, the book shows migrants not only as economic actors, but also as individuals involved in an intimate process that constantly modifies their sense of morality and personhood.

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