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Hassen, Asma Ben Hadj

Research Interests :

Social and cultural Anthropology

Geographical Area :

Tunisia,Ivory Coastand France

Current Project:

An ethnography of migrant Ivoirian domestic work in Tunisia

This research will look at the migration experience of Ivoirian domestic workers in Tunisia and at the broader relations of domination and exploitation that underlie the employment of a domestic worker within the market of domestic labour in Tunisia’s heterogeneous migration landscape, in the context of new social, political and economic transformations since the 2011 revolution. More generally, this research intends to explore the intersections of class, race and gender domination that structure domestic and economic relations in a South-South and South-North migratory context and to understand how legal insecurity and migration projects shape precarious domestic labour for Ivoirian migrants in Tunisia. I plan to engage with anthropological literature on migrant labour, domestic/care work, gender, race and precarity.
Although Tunisia remains a country of departure for its nationals, it has become, in recent years a "transit" and host country for many sub-Saharan migrants. Most of them are Ivorians.
This is due, among other factors, to the abolition of visas for entry into Tunisia for nationals of many sub-Saharan countries, including Côte d'Ivoire, belonging to the francophone area and the history of economic and scientific cooperation that connects the two countries.
However, without a work and residence permit, these migrants find themselves in an irregular situation. Among the sectors with a high concentration of this labour force, domestic employment is at the top. The cross-cutting evolution of gender and migration studies has made it possible to consider the need for domestic work. It takes other forms at the transnational level, where the migration of domestic workers to provide reproductive work (sexual, domestic or care work) takes place between the South and the North and sometimes becomes a political choice of the state (Philippines). But there are also migrations between South and South or North and North, such as Asian women working in the Gulf monarchies or Ethiopian women workers in Lebanon. Called 'the dirty work', domestic employment does not reflect a simple need for services but obscures racial and social dominations (Hughes, 1962). Hughes refers to domestic work, but almost all the jobs
held by these migrants fall under the category of "dirty work", which includes all the deskilled,downgraded, neglected and stigmatising work that is delegated to others, usually migrants, women and working-class people. Stephen Castles (Castles, 2002) argues that globalisation is leading to more immigration than ever before for the "3-D Jobs" (Dirty, Demanding “).

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