'Joining the BBC (British Bottom Cleaners)': Zimbabwean migrants and the UK care industry

McGregor, Joann (2007) 'Joining the BBC (British Bottom Cleaners)': Zimbabwean migrants and the UK care industry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33 (5). pp. 801-824. ISSN 1369-183X

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Abstract

This article contributes to the literature on 'global care chains' by examining the narratives of Zimbabwean women and men working as carers in the UK. It investigates why social care has become an important focus of employment for Zimbabweans, and explores the means by which migrants of different legal status have negotiated work in a diverse sector. The article explores the experiences of a highly educated, middle-class migrant group, who left their country in the context of deepening economic and political crisis. Some Zimbabweans have been able to use transnational mobility and care work as a means of coping, finding opportunities to meet family obligations and personal ambitions, while entrepreneurs have found openings to set up in business as care agencies, providing work for their compatriots and others. Yet the article also emphasises the stress and deskilling most Zimbabwean care workers have experienced in trying to support themselves and dependents through excessive hours of low-status and often poorly paid work, the strain of working in strongly feminised and racialised workplaces, and the insecurities and abuse produced by informality, including 'tied' and other forms of labour exploitation. There is a need for greater attention to be paid to the dynamics of race and gender in social care workplaces, and to means of securing the rights of migrant careworkers, who are playing an increasingly important role in caring for some of the most vulnerable members of British society.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Nadya Herrera Catalan
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2015 07:14
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2015 07:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/52793
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