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Discourses of ‘border-crossers’: Peruvian domestic workers in Lima as social actors
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Discourse Studies (Full Text) vol. 13 no. 2 (Apr. 2011)
This article is based on narrative, autobiographic interviews with domestic workers in Peru focusing on their migration and work experiences. The interviewees evoke a border discourse that divides and hierarchizes Peruvian society and stigmatizes migrants, especially migrant domestic workers. As domestic service leads to intense social interactions at this ‘border’, the interviewees are constantly forced to ‘translate’ (Bhabha, 1996) when constructing their identity. The discourse-analytical bottom–up perspective focusing on membership categorization devices evaluates the performativity of the discourses of those considered as ‘oppressed’; it analyses processes of subjection and subjectification: whereas some of the interviewees internalize the discursively attributed inferior ‘Me’, others use the constructed borders as an opportunity to develop hybrid discourse strategies that cross and even deconstruct social categorizations. By focusing on the agency of ‘border-crossers’, the article aims at scientifically ‘rethinking the social with cultural difference as a constitutive feature’ (Papastergiadis, 2000: 18).
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