"Brave, intelligenti e pulite": le domestiche eritree e l’eredità ambivalente del colonialismo Abstract Titolo in inglese: "Good, smart and clean": Eritrean domestic workers and the ambivalent inheritance of colonialism

Journal title MONDI MIGRANTI
Author/s Sabrina Marchetti
Publishing Year 2013 Issue 2013/2 Language Italian
Pages 16 P. 141-156 File size 646 KB
DOI 10.3280/MM2013-002009
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Aim of this article is to contribute to the debate on migrant domestic labour by drawing attention to the relevance of the relationship between the country of destination and the one of origin in the narrative of one’s migratory and labour experience. This is particularly relevant when a past colonial domination affects this relationship. Therefore, the article focuses on the narratives of fifteen Eritrean women who arrived in the city of Rome between the years 1960s and 1970s. Their stories reveal a crucial overlap between the «postcolonial» dimension of their experience and the one work in the domestic sector which concerns, more generally, migrant women in Italy. With reference to the notion of postcolonial cultural capital the article emphasises the role in these women’s process of subjectification of the pre-migratory phase. This took place in Eritrea, where they have been exposed to Italian cultural practices and to the social hierarchies associated with them. This is now described as a preparation for their labour in Italy. In this light, the argument is made about a fundamental «ambivalence» of the colonial past in shaping the narratives of the interviewees. The representations which are associated with migrant women carry two opposite outcomes: on the one side they smoothed their entrance in the sector and, with that, the fulfilment of their migratory project; on the other they triggered stigmatisation and labour segregation in the society of the former colonisers. The women that have been interviewed tell us about a life on the edge of these two opposite outcomes, in which to be Eritrean has been simultaneously the reason of their subordination, and their tool for resistance.

Keywords: Domestic labour, Rome, cultural capital, colonialism, Eritrea.

  1. Andall J. (2000). Gender, Migration and Domestic Service. The Politics of Black Women in Italy. Ashgate/Aldershot: Burlington.
  2. Andall J. e Duncan D., a cura di (2010). Belongings: Hybridity in Italian colonial and postcolonial culture. Oxford/Bern: Peter Lang.
  3. Andall J. e Duncan D., a cura di (2005). Italian Colonialism. Legacies and Memories. Oxford/Bern: Peter Lang.
  4. Anselmi A. (1987). La comunità eritrea. Dossier Europa emigrazione, 12, 4: 14-16.
  5. Arnone A. (2008). Journeys to Exile. The Constitution of Eritrean Identity through Narratives and Experiences. Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 34, 2:
  6. 325-340. Banerjee S.M. (2004). Men, Women, and Domestics: Articulating Middle-class Identity in Colonial Bengal. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  7. Barrera G. (2003) Mussolini’s colonial race laws and state-settler relations in Africa Orientale Italiana (1935-41). Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 8: 425-443.
  8. Bottaro L., a cura di (2003). Gli italiani in Eritrea. Esploratori, missionari, medici e artisti. Asmara.
  9. Capalbo G. (1982). Indagine sui lavoratori eritrei a Roma. Affari Sociali Internazionali, 10, 3: 61-71.
  10. Catanzaro R. e Colombo A., a cura di (2009). Badanti & Co. Il lavoro domestico straniero in Italia. Bologna: il Mulino.
  11. Chelati Dirar U., Palma S., Triulzi A. e Volterra A., a cura di (2011). Colonia e postcolonia come spazi diasporici: attraversamenti di memorie, identità e confini nel Corno d’Africa. Roma: Carocci.
  12. Cock J. (1989). Maids and Madams. Domestic Workers under Apartheid. Londra: Women’s Press.
  13. Constable N. (1997). Sexuality and Discipline among Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong. American Ethnologist, 24, 3: 539-558.
  14. Ehrenreich B. e Russel Hochschild A., a cura di (2002). Global Woman. Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy. Londra: Granta Books.
  15. Fauve-Chamoux A., a cura di (2004). Domestic service and the formation of European identity: understanding the globalization of domestic work, 16th-21st centuries. Oxford/Bern: Peter Lang.
  16. Ghidei Biidu D. e Marchetti S. (2010). Eritreans’ memories of postcolonial time: Ambivalence and mimicry at the Italian schools in Asmara. In: Andall J. e Duncan D., a cura di, cit.
  17. Glenn E.N. (2002). Unequal Freedom. How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labour. Cambridge: Harvard UP.
  18. Graham H. (2001). The Postcolonial Exotic. Marketing the Margins. Londra: Routledge.
  19. Haskins V. (2001). On the doorstep: aboriginal domestic service as a ‘contact zone’. Australian Feminist Studies, 16, 34: 13-25.
  20. King A. (1990). Urbanism, Colonialism, and the World-economy. Cultural and Spatial. Londra: Routledge.
  21. Kristeva J. (1980). Pouvoirs de l’horreur. Essai sur l’abjection. Parigi: Seuil.
  22. Lan P.C. (2006). Global Cinderellas. Migrant Domestic Workers and Newly Rich Employers in Taiwan. Durham: Duke UP.
  23. Locher-Scholten E. (2000). Women and the Colonial State. Essays on Gender and Modernity in the Netherlands Indies, 1900-1942. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP.
  24. Lowrie C. (2009). In service of Empire: Domestic Service and Colonial Mastery in Singapore and Darwin, 1890s-1930s. University of Wollongong. Doctoral Dissertation.
  25. Lutz H. (2008). Migration and Domestic Work. A European Perspective on a Global Theme. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  26. MacDonald C.L. (1996). Shadow Mothers. Nannies, Au Pairs and Invisible Work. In: MacDonald C.L. e Sirianni C., a cura di. cit.: 244-263.
  27. MacDonald C.L. e Sirianni C., a cura di (1996). Working in the Service Society. Temple: Temple UP.
  28. McCall L. (2005). The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs, 30, 3: 1771-1800.
  29. Memmi A. (1957). The colonizer and the colonized. Londra: Souvenir Press (ristampa 1974).
  30. Mezzetti P., Castagnone E. e Ferro A. (2008). Migranti tra associazionismo transnazionale e pratiche di co-sviluppo. Quaderni di Rassegna Sindacale, 9, 2: 143-157.
  31. Moors A. (2003). Muslim Cultural Politics. What's Islam Got to Do with it? Amsterdam: Vossiuspers.
  32. Palmer P. (1989). Domesticity and Dirt. Housewives and Domestic Servants in the United States, 1920-1945. Temple: Temple UP.
  33. Parreñas R.S. (2001). Servants of Globalization. Women, Migration and Domestic Work. Stanford: Stanford UP.
  34. Petricola E. e Tappi A. (2010). Brava gente. Memoria e rappresentazioni del colonialism italiano. Zapruder: Storie in movimento, 23.
  35. Ponzanesi S. (2005). Beyond the Black Venus. Colonial Sexual Politics and Contemporary Visual Practices. In: Andall J. e Duncan D., a cura di, cit.: 165-189.
  36. Rollins J. (1985). Between Women. Domestics and their Employers. Temple: Temple UP.
  37. Sarti R., a cura di (2011). Lavoro domestico e di cura. Quali diritti? Roma:Ediesse.
  38. Scalzo F. (1984). Stranieri in Italia. La comunità eritrea e marocchina nell'area romana attraverso racconti biografici. Dossier Europa Emigrazione, 9: 3-5.
  39. Skeggs B. (1997). Formations of Class and Gender. Becoming Respectable. Londra: Sage.
  40. Sòrgoni B. (1998). Parole e corpi: antropologia, discorso giuridico e politiche sessuali interrazziali nella colonia Eritrea, 1890-1941. Napoli: Liguori.
  41. Stoler A.L. (2002). Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  42. Volterra A. (2005). Sudditi coloniali: ascari eritrei 1935-1941. Milano: FrancoAngeli.
  43. Woodward A.E. e Kohli M., a cura di (2001). Inclusions and exclusions in European societies. Londra/New Yorl: Routledge.
  44. Young R. (2003). Postcolonialism: an historical introduction. London: Blackwell. Yuval-Davis N. (2001). The narration of difference. ‘Cultural stuff’, ethnic projects and projects. In: Woodward A.E. e Kohli M., a cura di, cit.: 59-70.

  • "Solo di passaggio": l'Italia nelle rappresentazioni e nelle pratiche di mobilità dei giovani eritrei Milena Belloni, in MONDI MIGRANTI 2/2016 pp.249
    DOI: 10.3280/MM2016-002013
  • Languages of Discrimination and Racism in Twentieth-Century Italy Marcella Simoni, Davide Lombardo, pp.1 (ISBN:978-3-030-98656-8)

Sabrina Marchetti, "Brave, intelligenti e pulite": le domestiche eritree e l’eredità ambivalente del colonialismo in "MONDI MIGRANTI" 2/2013, pp 141-156, DOI: 10.3280/MM2013-002009