Chicanas modernize domestic service

Mary Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The shift from live-in to day work was a step in the modernization of domestic service because it limited the length of the working day and reduced the psychological exploitation involved in the interpersonal relationship between domestics and mistresses. Even the shift to an hourly wage did not end the extraction of emotional labor, however. Interviews with Chicanas employed as private household workers reveal the next step in the evolution of domestic services. The current development is away from wage work, in which "labor time" is sold, selling a service in which a "job" is exchanged for a specified amount of money. Chicanas are defining themselves as expert cleaners hired to do general housework. Most supervision and personal services are thus eliminated from the job. Mistress-servant relations are being transformed into customervendor relations, reducing the personalism and asymmetry of employer-employee relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-334
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Sociology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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