Introduction: Decolonizing domestic service: introducing a new agenda
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What is the relationship between domestic service and colonization, historically and into the present? How does domestic service connect and intersect with the experiences of dispossession, displacement and expropriation, and the social and cultural upheavals that such processes generate? This collection of essays represents a concerted effort to map out the ongoing significance of colonization for shaping the patterns of domestic service. It is an undertaking that seems timely now. We have witnessed a resurgence in domestic labor on a global scale in recent years, only growing in strength and intensity, that has produced an explosion of literature reflecting on domestic work. The triumvirate of race, class and gender categories of analysis has fundamentally reoriented perspectives within multiple disciplines in the last three or four decades. Scholars now routinely acknowledge and address the significance of the lives of women, working people and people of color (domestic workers often belonging to all three categories), as well as recognizing the importance of structural relations these categories entail, in themselves and in combination. Add to this the vibrant dynamic of postcolonial or 'new imperial' studies, attending to the domestic and the intimate as sites of power in colonial, postcolonial and neocolonial projects, and we have all the ingredients for a new way of approaching domestic service.