Due to its gendered nature, domestic work is "invisible" to the law and the formal economy. People who perform this remunerated work are not normally covered by legislation in many national jurisdictions worldwide. In the context of the International Labor Organization's programme on decent work, domestic workers were formally put on the agenda at the International Labor Conference (ILC) in 2010, nearly a century after the ILO’s establishment.
In this talk, Liberty Chee will examine how and why domestic work and those who perform it become visible, knowable and therefore objects of governance in the ILC deliberations over C189. She approaches this problem through Michel Foucault’s notion of problematization. To “problematize” makes visible the process of knowledge production as attempts to understand and solve a phenomenon that has become problematic. The deliberations over C189 show that the core tensions around treating domestic work ‘like any other’ cluster around the questions of working time and space and the classic feminist problem of the public/private divide.
Liberty Chee is currently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and a Visiting Researcher at the Global Governance Centre. In her current project #KnowingDOM, she investigates how various actors engage the International Labor Organization in making knowledge claims about domestic work and how the ILO's norm-setting activities diffuse to and from the European Union. Trained in International Relations, her research notably draws from feminist political economy, political theory, and migration studies.
Dalia Zein, PhD Candidate and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Geneva Graduate Institute
Monique J. Beerli, Executive Director of the Global Governance Centre, Geneva Graduate Institute
* Lunch will be provided before the meeting *