Organizing Immigrant Workers Through ‘Communities of Coping’: An Analysis of Migrant Domestic Workers’ Journey from an Individual Labour of Love to a Collective Labour with Rights
By studying the collective organization of migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in London, the research points to a possibility of nurturing immigrant workers’ labour consciousness and further organizing them based on worker identity in dispersed and informal sectors. The study shows that ‘communities of coping’ can play a significant role in developing collective agency among MDWs by creating a safe space where they can socialize, developing mutual trust and share work grievances, and providing leaders from immigrant worker community who attempt to develop a group-centred leadership that embraces the participation of the many. It argues that the further development of collective mobilizations in informal and individualized sectors may require creative leaps of sociological imagination in locating and nurturing communities of coping, wherever they may be occurring—in ethnic social clubs, women’s groups, churches or at school gates. The research also calls for a need to shift the assessment of outcomes of community organizing from a focus on organizational development and policy changes to a focus on the empowerment of migrant workers at the grassroots level.
KeywordsMigrant domestic workers Collective mobilisation Communities of coping Community organising Empowerment
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