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Work, Labour and CleaningThe Social Contexts of Outsourcing Housework$
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Lotika Singha

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529201468

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529201468.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Domestic Cleaning: Work or Labour

Domestic Cleaning: Work or Labour

(p.101) 5 Domestic Cleaning: Work or Labour
Work, Labour and Cleaning

Lotika Singha

Policy Press

This chapter introduces the central argument of the book through a discussion of how the research respondents conceptualised paid-for domestic cleaning in terms of the structure of cleaning work and whether anyone can do cleaning for a living. The chapter proposes that depending on the conditions of work, cleaning can be done as work, that is, using mental and manual skills and effort and performed under decent, democratic work conditions, or as labour, that is, requiring mainly manual labour, accompanied by exertion of ‘natural’ emotional/affective labour and performed in undemocratic conditions. Good paid-for cleaning work is also not simply a replacement of unpaid housework that can be done by anyone; it entails much learning and continued commitment anddoes not come ‘naturally’ to women.

Keywords:   affective labour, commitment, democratic, learning, manual labour, manual skills, mental skills, structure, unpaid housework, work conditions

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