Doctoral Dissertation Research: Socioeconomic Variance in Labor and Family Responses to Globalization

Project: Research project

Project Details


The explosion of the global service sector, in tandem with women’s increasing labor force participation, has engendered a “care deficit” globally (cite). The US, unique among developed countries in lacking federally funded day care, faces what policymakers and activists have termed a “child care crisis” (cite). Dual income earning and single parents in the U.S. face limited access and skyrocketing child care costs that have outpaced rents in most states; this “crisis” is especially apparent to working poor women who, in the advent of “welfare-to-work” or workfare reforms in the late 1990s, have been thrust into the labor force (US Census 2012; cite). In response to these upheavals, family child care (FCC) has become one of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S., with an estimated 2.3 million workers and many more working informally, providing alternatives to institutionalized daycare hours, cost and access (Smith 2006). Latina migrant FCC providers have become particularly central to meeting the care needs of low income working mothers – opening up their homes as family day care centers in cities such as Los Angeles in exchange for public subsidies. Facing low rates of pay at skyrocketing demand for this care work, these Latina have also developed one of the few rapidly-growing labor union movements, mobilizing in sites across U.S. cities to unionize the state-subsidized child care sector. Family child care sites – and the social movement that binds them – offer critical spaces to analyze how processes of political-economic change and constructions of race, gender, and citizenship are shaped at the household level. My dissertation research thus looks at how and why have migrant Latina FCC in global cities like Los Angeles subcontract care to young children of working parents. Why and how do Latina care workers mobilize to transform family child care through labor activism? What do their everyday experiences tell us about the (re)making of race, gender, work and citizenship in the 21st century U.S.?
Effective start/end date6/1/1411/30/16


  • National Science Foundation (BCS-1357481)


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