The Moral Harm of Migrant Carework: Realizing a Global Right to Care

Philosophical Topics 37 (2):53-73 (2009)
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Arlie Hochschild glosses the practice of women migrants in poor nations who leave their families behind for extended periods of time to do carework in other wealthier countries as a “global heart transplant” from poor to wealthy nations. Thus she signals the idea of an injustice between nations and a moral harm for the individuals in the practice. Yet the nature of the harm needs a clear articulation. When we posit a sufficiently nuanced “right to care,” we locate the harm to central relationships of the migrant women. The “right to care” we develop uses a concept of a relational self drawn from an ethics of care. The harm is situated in the broken relationships, which in turn have a serious impact on a person’s sense of equal dignity and self-respect, particularly since the sacrifice of central relationships of the migrant woman allows others to maintain these same relationships. The paper ends with a brief discussion of some of the solutions we need to consider.
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