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Virtual Book Launch - Unfree

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Join us on Friday, January 21 at 12 PM (PT) as Rhacel Parreñas discusses her brand-new book, Unfree

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Join us on Friday, January 21 at 12 PM (PT) as Rhacel Salazar Parreñas discusses her brand-new book, Unfree: Migrant Domestic Work in Arab States, in conversation with Frederick Wherry (Princeton University) and Christine Williams (University of Texas at Austin). Viviana Zelizer (Princeton University) will give the introduction. Hosted by the Filipino Studies Community-in-formation of the American Sociological Association and Stanford University Press

About Unfree

In the United Arab Emirates, there is an employment sponsorship system known as the kafala. Migrant domestic workers within it must solely work for their employer, secure their approval to leave the country, and obtain their consent to terminate a job. In Unfree, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas examines the labor of women from the Philippines, who represent the largest domestic workforce in the country. She challenges presiding ideas about the kafala, arguing that its reduction to human trafficking is, at best, unproductive, and at worst damaging to genuine efforts to regulate this system that impacts tens of millions of domestic workers across the globe.

The kafala system technically renders migrant workers unfree as they are made subject to the arbitrary authority of their employer. Not surprisingly, it has been the focus of intense scrutiny and criticism from human rights advocates and scholars. Yet, contrary to their claims, Parreñas argues that most employers do not abuse domestic workers or maximize the extraction of their labor. Still, the outrage elicited by this possibility dominates much of public discourse and overshadows the more mundane reality of domestic work in the region. Unfree shows how various stakeholders, including sending and receiving states, NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, employers and domestic workers, project moral standards to guide the unregulated labor of domestic work.

About the Author

Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of numerous books, including Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo, and Children of Global Migration: Transnational Families and Gendered Woes. She is the recipient of the 2019 Jessie Bernard Award from the American Sociological Association.

This event is free, but you will need to register. We’ll send you the Zoom link shortly before the event.

Unfree is available for purchase here. Save 20% on this book (plus free shipping for North American orders) when you order on our website using discount code UNFREE20-FM.

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