chapter  5
22 Pages

Domestic workers and the performance of hierarchy

WithSuman Gupta

This chapter does some preparatory work prior to focusing on the bearing of technology on the domestic worker–employer relationship in Chapter 6. Moving from initiatives which putatively bear upon the poor generally, here the focus is on the features and work conditions of a specific segment of informal workers: that is, on domestic workers and their relations to employers. The relationship involves contact between the affluent and the poor, slum-dwellers and middle-class households, rural or provincial and urban areas, and sometimes across caste, religious, regional and linguistic boundaries. Existing studies of this relationship are examined, and particular attention is given to one aspect: habitual interpersonal performances of hierarchy.