The Transnational Commodification of Care Work and the “Care Crisis”

Stream: Panel 84 - Gender Politics: Women’s Work and Women at Work 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm


A mounting crisis of care on a global scale has become one of urgent concerns during the last several decades. One dimension of this crisis is the rise of a “care deficit” (Hochschild 1995) in most developed countries, which has been fuelled by the so-called “feminization” of the workforce, changing demographics of aging societies and the restructuring of welfare provisioning. Another dimension of the global care crisis derives from a “care drain” (Hochschild 2002) from developing to developed countries. With these dynamics of the global care crisis in mind, this chapter addresses: how and with what consequences has care work become a transnational commodity? More specifically, drawing on the wide-ranging and rich feminist literature on care and migration in International Political Economy (IPE) and other fields, it seeks to demonstrate: (a) how the escalated commodification of care work on a global scale creates, and is promoted by, the contradictions and tensions within the contemporary crisis; and, (b) how this has perpetuated the geopolitical as well as gendered, racialized, and classed inequalities. The primary objective of this paper is to highlight some future research agendas in order to critically tackle the global care crisis in the neoliberal order.


Hironori Onuki (Presenter), University of Wollongong
Lecturer in Politics and International Studies, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong