Aid and the transnational extraction of care

This talk draws from an ethnographic study of the intersection of the international development industry and domestic labour, drawing attention to the mismatched rewards and opportunities the industry brings to its practitioners and supposed “beneficiaries”.

Expatriate aid workers in Global South have local people working within the intimate sphere of their homes. Whether working for the United Nations, governmental aid agencies, or NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children, or World Vision, expatriate aid workers routinely employ local maids, nannies, security guards, gardeners, and chauffeurs. These relationships are seldom, if ever, discussed in analyses of the development paradigm and its praxis.

Examining aid workers as employers of domestic labour provides an opportunity to reach a deeper understanding about the function of development both as an industry and as an orienting framework in our contemporary world, as well as a means to consider the role of aid workers as post-colonial subjects in Africa.



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