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Guess Who’s Coming to Research? Reflections on Race, Class, Gender, and Power in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

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Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production
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Abstract

I am often asked about how I developed an interest in paid domestic work,1 as I wrote both my master’s thesis and dissertation on the subject.2 Quite honestly, it was difficult not to be interested as a black woman researcher in Brazil. According to the most recent reports from the 2010 PNAD-IBGE, Brazil’s largest national household survey, over 7 million individuals, about 93 percent of which are women, are employed in paid domestic work. A 2011 study conducted by the Departmento Intersindical de Estatistica e Estudos Socioeconomicos (DIESSE) shows that nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of employed black women work in paid domestic positions in the largest metropolitan areas of Brazil. In terms of the racial makeup of black domestics in comparison to nonblacks, the distribution of women ranges from 97 percent in Salvador to 49 percent in São Paulo. Black women are significant, if not overwhelming, contributors to this labor market in all of Brazil’s largest municipalities.3

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Authors

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Gladys L. Mitchell-Walthour Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

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© 2016 Jaira J. Harrington

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Harrington, J.J. (2016). Guess Who’s Coming to Research? Reflections on Race, Class, Gender, and Power in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. In: Mitchell-Walthour, G.L., Hordge-Freeman, E. (eds) Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137553942_7

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