WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn35 )

Domesticity and domestic work in Africa: a long trajectory

Organizers

    Francesca Declich

    Italy

    University of Urbino

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Silvia Cirillo

    Italy

    University of Urbino

    Online - Presence

    Valdemir Zamparoni

    Brasil

    Universidade Federal de Bahia

    Online - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Study of Difference, Discrimination and Marginalization

Keywords:

gender; domesticity; chidren; women; dependent work

Abstract:

Ethnographic, sociological, empirical and theoretical studies conducted across diverse African contexts, spanning different locations and time periods, reveal a complex interplay of social relationships within the realm of domestic women and children labour. Ongoing discussions surrounding the diverse facets of domestic labour, whether paid or unpaid, open up space for new reflections on how domestic and children labour is practiced and conceptualized in different geographical, political, social, and economic contexts. Children are often involved since a very early age into working. Domestic and often child labour manifests in multiple forms, whether remunerated or unremunerated, paid in kind and/or in money, formal or informal, residential or non-residential, among other variations. Mostly women and children are involved in this kind of labour yet in some instances boys and men are sometimes included. In specific African contexts, a diversity of situations and conditions, not confined solely to the upper classes, can be observed even within the same household. These instances underscore the ambiguity between what is conventionally recognized as a form of employment and other types of unpaid domestic labour performed within the framework of a kinship ideology. To what extent a comparative exploration of different historical periods illuminate aspects of the transition from servile relations and other forms of past dependency to contemporary expressions of domestic work?. What sort of contradictions entails the formalization of domestic labour? In which ways colonial governments interacted with traditional practices and why? Have other agents impacted on the organization of domesticities and domestic work? Which are the contemporary networks around which domestic labour is recruited? This panel seeks contributions to investigate the multifaceted relations involved, contribute to the advancement of research on domesticities, female and child labour, and foster new reflections on critical issues within the history of labour and the intricate interconnections between labour and kinship in Africa.