Brown, Rachel H. “Re-examining the Transnational Nanny. Migrant Carework beyond the Chain.” International Feminist Journal of Politics (early view; online first).
This article explores whether the concept of a global care chain is useful in understanding the migration of careworkers internationally. It examines how an affective approach to understanding migration could supplement the care chain analysis by accounting for the overlapping, shifting, contingent and non-linear networks of emotion that arise during migrations. Analyzing carework through the lens of an “affective economy” is more revealing of the multiple experiences of Filipino gay and transgender caregivers in Tel Aviv and New York, Peruvian careworkers in Spain and Polish careworkers in Germany, as but three brief, illustrative examples. First I will discuss what the care chain approach can illuminate about the multiple and varied stories of migrant careworkers and how it may also essentialize or oversimplify their experiences. I will then suggest that the model naturalizes the caring, biological mother and reinforces geographical and ideological binaries such as North/South, winner/loser and domination/dependency. Finally, I will discuss how the care chain model presents a linear conception of time and space, obscuring the overlapping and multi-directional routes of migration that careworkers travel. Ultimately I will argue that an affective approach creates the theoretical language that can help build what Chela Sandoval calls a coalitional consciousness.