• Domestic Economies: Women, Work, and the American Dream in Los Angeles

    Pages: 248
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  ix
    Introduction  1
    1. Producing In/Visibility in Los Angeles  27
    2. Middle-Class Dreaming and the Limits of "Americanness"  49
    3. Making Mothers Count  83
    4. Organizing, Motherhood, and the Meanings of (Domestic) Work  115
    5. Dreaming American  148
    Conclusion  177
    Notes   185
    References  205
    Index  225
  • "In this beautifully written ethnography of immigrant Latina domestic workers and their employers in Los Angeles, Susanna Rosenbaum not only juxtaposes employee-employer stories but also links them together through their struggles as mothers. The detailed ethnographic descriptions are masterfully done, bringing these women together in a way that has not been accomplished before. Domestic Economies makes an important, innovative, and unique contribution to the growing literature on domestic service by incorporating motherhood, immigrant struggles, and a critique of the 'American Dream' ideology." — Mary Romero, author of, The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream

    “Susanna Rosenbaum’s engaging work is filled with profound insights into the shared but nonetheless divergent struggles of Latina domestic workers and their employers. Taking domestic service as an entry point for understanding how the two groups of women are bound to each other in their pursuit of the American Dream, Rosenbaum’s beautifully written ethnography lends itself nicely to undergraduate courses in women and gender studies, the sociology and anthropology of work and migration, and Latino and ethnic studies.” — Elana Zilberg, author of, Space of Detention: The Making of a Transnational Gang Crisis between Los Angeles and San Salvador

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  • Description

    In Domestic Economies, Susanna Rosenbaum examines how two groups of women—Mexican and Central American domestic workers and the predominantly white, middle-class women who employ them—seek to achieve the "American Dream." By juxtaposing their understandings and experiences, she illustrates how immigrant and native-born women strive to reach that ideal, how each group is indispensable to the other's quest, and what a vital role reproductive labor plays in this pursuit. Through in-depth ethnographic research with these women at work, at home, and in the urban spaces of Los Angeles, Rosenbaum positions domestic service as an intimate relationship that reveals two versions of female personhood. Throughout, Rosenbaum underscores the extent to which the ideology of the American Dream is racialized and gendered, exposing how the struggle for personal worth and social recognition is shaped at the intersection of motherhood and paid employment.

    About The Author(s)

    Susanna Rosenbaum is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the City College of New York.
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