Continuity and Borders between Public and Private Life. The Double Presence of Care Workers
This article examines the implications of care workers’ experiences of public and private life and of “double presence”. In particular, it explores the peculiar experience of Eastern European migrant women employed as care workers, because they spend the best part of their time within their employees’ private spaces, while their private life takes places in a translocal social space composed by the apartment where they work, their faraway homes and urban public spaces where they meet friends and relatives. The analysis is based on 55 biographical interviews with Ukrainian, Romanian and Moldovan migrant women collected in Italy and in Ukraine between 2006 and 2012. The analysis shows overlappings and interstices between different gendered spheres, spaces and times. First, the paper illustrates the working conditions of care workers, in particular as far as the experience of “seclusion” is concerned. In the second part, the article moves on to examine and discuss the transformation of migrant women’s models and practices of “double presence”. Finally, the article argues that it is possible to distinguish two types of double presence: the transnational double presence performed by women who migrate alone, and the vertical double presence of migrants having family in Italy.
Keywords: Care Workers, Migrant Women, Public and Private Life, Double Presence.