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Borders, Mobilities and Migrations

Perspectives from the Mediterranean, 19–21st Century


Edited By Lisa Anteby-Yemini, Virginie Baby-Collin and Sylvie Mazzella

This book explores changes in the social, economic and political processes underpinning the mechanisms for the management of human mobility and cohabitation in the Mediterranean region, while suggesting comparisons with the situation in the Americas.
It considers the public policies that introduce such mechanisms at state, region or city level, and also explores the way that populations adapt to, breach or find ways of working around these systems.
The volume also attempts to evaluate the extent to which the reactions of the populations concerned can influence such systems. Relying on a historical perspective and covering a broad period of time from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, this book questions the increasing influence of processes born out of globalization upon present readjustments of mobility and territorial configurations.
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“Maid in Lebanon”. Lebanon and the World Domestic Service Market (Assaf Dahdah)


← 130 | 131 → “Maid in Lebanon”1

Lebanon and the World Domestic Service Market


Since the 1990s, the international domestic service market has become more complex and extensive with the emergence of “global care chains” (Ehrenreich and Hochschild, 2003). It is experiencing tremendous growth and demonstrates thus both the cause and the effect of national migration policies in a context of growing regional and global inequality (Cox, 2006), demographic and social change, and changing job markets which has generated a new international lumpenproletariat (Roulleau-Berger, 2010) with the majority of migrants now women (Frederici, 2002). The migration of female workers, now an integral factor in economic policy in many countries, is the first phase in the development of a world domestic service market in which there are clearly identifiable ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ countries. Of the latter, the Middle East is the main source of demand in domestic services (Cheng, 2006).

Already in the 1970s, Lebanon was importing female labour, mainly from the Seychelles and Sri Lanka, to work as domestic servants (Jureidini, 2003). During the 1970s and 1980s, despite the constant presence of war, migrant networks began to diversify and the number of migrants increased (Bret, 2007). With the return to a relatively stable political situation in the 1990s, on the one hand, and the development of a national and world market for domestic services, on the other, there emerged a new partnership bringing together the Lebanese government, specialized recruitment agencies, and...

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