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Unveiling Domestic Work in Times of Crisis

For female migrant domestic workers, past job dependencies, as well as new ones, make life outside of Greece and beyond the boundaries of private households undesirable or almost impossible. This tendency has persisted even in the current recession, which has led to an increase in unemployment, racism, and poverty, as well as to other forms of social hardship for these women. To understand their conditions of life one has to look at how domestic work shapes these women's perceptions and prospects for mobility in Greece.

A number of scholars see a supposed opportunity for change in the socioeconomic crisis. They observe this change, on the one hand, in the fact that migrants now contemplate returning to their own country or moving to another, and on the other, in the probable emergence of a new division of labor in Greece, which has the potential to (in their view) liberate women from their dependence on employment in domestic service. Neither, however, is a viable possibility at present. Wishful thinking aside, the case of domestic servants and other service workers suggests that employment relations are far more ingrained in people's social and cultural lives than is usually believed. To underestimate the importance of this is like ignoring the social ties between domestic work and class, ethnicity, and gender, as well as the boundaries that these impose.

By the time of the Greek crisis (2009 to the present), migrant domestic workers in Greece had developed a sense of self based on their work experience, service, gender, and ethnicity (Psimmenos 2013). For nearly twenty-five years (since 1990), this sense centered on providing domestic care and cleaning, and more broadly, on what was required of servants as they worked on the margins of the labor market under conditions established by the families who employed them. It was in those margins that domestic workers learned to live a life in isolation from their conationals and other workers, as well as from the social [End Page 1] mechanisms that would otherwise have connected them to the wider society. The private household was their entire world; images, affections, and social relations gradually began to revolve around the family who employed them. So too with their prospects in the country, as well as with their social identity, which in time came to be fused with servitude. In contrast to seminal works by Robert Park (1928), Everett Stoneguist (1961), and the scholars who followed their line of thinking, one could argue in retrospect that migrant domestic workers were ushered into a world of social marginalization, but not through their exposure to the rational order of work. Rather, they were integrated into a labor market that converted paid work into a familistic, emotional, and tribal attribute (Du Bois [1920] 1999). In other words, domestic workers' marginality is due, inter alia, to the fact that they progressively identify their social position with the private household's values and their work with generic characteristics. These characteristics were aggravated in the years that followed the outbreak of Greece's fiscal and social problems, turning economic and social insecurity into a motivating factor for women to further distance themselves from conditions and attributes that endangered their service loyalties, rewards, and status distinctions.

Unveiling Domestic Work in Times of Crisis is a study of the job ties and boundaries that women migrant workers have created and confronted in a period of recession.1 It is concerned with all those social attachments and barriers that perpetuate domestic workers' entrapment at a time of economic stagnation, giving servitude a meaning in life and formulating corresponding expectations. The papers in this collection are concerned with the ways in which social change leads to variations in the degree of workers' dependency on their employers for job security. Such a sociological task is as painstaking as it is challenging and useful for research on social stratification and mobility. This task is essential for understanding both the functioning of domestic services in times of crisis and the role of occupation in it, as well as how economic and noneconomic parameters blend and sustain ethnic and gendered divisions of labor.

To explain these patterns, the authors in this collection employ a comparative methodology. Their focus is on the comparison between different stages of domestic labor development, characterized first by growth and then by stagnation. The authors investigate the social impact of the Great Depression on domestic workers during the interwar period, during the years of so-called prosperity (2005–2008), and then during the current recession (2009–2016). They compare the lives of the same group of workers over these periods of time: their connections to family/community networks, their access to welfare [End Page 2] and other resources, and their prospects for employment and social mobility. Their responses to economic conditions form the main source from which we may discern variations in the practice of domestic labor in Greece and provide an excellent opportunity for reconsidering the effects of the crisis as these are understood by the subjects themselves.

The scope of the enquiry

Our enquiry into the work conditions and prospects of female immigrant domestic workers in Greece during the recession began in early 2010 and was completed at the end of 2014. It was initiated by a research team in Athens, scholars and students in the sociology of work group at Panteion University (Department of Social Policy, Center of Social Morphology and Social Policy), the Academy of Athens, and the University of Thrace.2 In the process, the work of the team was further enriched by the theoretical and empirical contributions of historians and ethnographers from the University of the Aegean and the University of Ioannina, who specialize in oral history, labor, and domestic service in Greece. The research team's commitment to interdisciplinary and comparative research has proven extremely valuable, especially for studying the social impact of the crisis on a specific occupational group. But it was the team's commitment to a sociological, historical, and social policy analysis prioritizing workers' perceptions and actions over the abstract and impersonal conditions of an occupational stratum that has made this a study one which can significantly contribute to our understanding of such a complex topic. People's social situation and economic position during the crisis was a multidimensional process of change from the start. And this process would be incomplete without any reference to workers' personal lives, job expectations, and images of society. Furthermore, one can only sense the full impact of the crisis on people's lives by situating them in a specific historical and social context. Comparing and contrasting life and job conditions, as well as their expectations at the time and in the social environment where they live and work, is a complicated but nonetheless necessary research step. Starting from these common basic understandings, the research team set out to meet the two following research goals: (1) to explore the shifting contours of the labor market for domestic workers; and (2) to identify and account for the role that these changes played in shaping domestic workers' career expectations, family, and peer group relations, social welfare practices, and workplace incentives.

To address these issues, the research team conducted 50 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with documented migrant workers. The majority of female [End Page 3] workers came from Albania, Ukraine, and Romania. They lived in Athens, had completed at least ten years in service (either as live-in or live-out servants), and qualified for an interview by their intrajob mobility patterns, their close and lasting family relationships, and their eligibility to participate in the public social security system. Interviews investigated work organization and values, as well as how they related to career, family, welfare practices, and their overall life expectations. In addition, the researchers gathered follow-up testimonies from the interviewees who had participated in a 2005–2008 research study on gendered migration (Kassimati and Moussourou 2007, Psimmenos and Skamnakis 2008). The snowball sampling technique (one interviewee leading to another) was used to identify and relate the interviewees. In order to achieve greater heterogeneity, as well as to check the validity of the information provided, field researchers identified subjects and gathered additional data from a variety of sites and social networks (for example, church associations, local ethnic or coworker meeting places, peer groups, and employer networks).3 In addition, the interviewers paid multiple visits to the domestic workers' places of residence in order to obtain more detailed information on particular points of interest or to raise further questions not covered during the initial interview.

Contextualizing domestic work

To approach the issue of crisis or social change in workers' lives is not an easy task, if such a thing exists at all in social research. It often entails detailed and painstaking inquiries into people's past and present social conditions and their responses to them. This is a complex endeavor that traditions in historical and sociological scholarship have undertaken with the aim of attaining a deeper understanding of how social classes relate to a work and vice versa. In the process, some scholars have focused their intellectual concerns on the general conditions of work and employment, placing greater emphasis on the importance of the structural dimensions of the economy on workers' job opportunities and social status (Svalastoga 1959; Blau and Duncan 1967).

Other scholars take as the starting point of their studies the cultural meaning that jobs have for people's conceptions of society and of themselves, especially during periods of sudden change (Coxon and Davies 1986; Elder 1999; Cowie and Heathcott 2003). From this perspective, the job is seen as more than merely a way to survive and achieve social status in hard times. It is understood, rather, as both a medium by which to interpret life and as a source of social stratification, communication, inspiration, and expectations. In this body of scholarship, major themes regarding the roles an occupation plays in [End Page 4] people's lives include morality, community, and solidarity (Dennis, Henriques, and Slaughter 1956; Brown and Brannen 1970), control of their private life (Beynon 1984; Beynon and Austrin 1994), workers' social status (Nesbit 1969), and how occupations shape people's images of society (Bulmer 1975; Cousins and Brown 1975; Lockwood 1975; Newby 1977).

Scholars have at times pursued the argument that in periods of recession, economic and cultural dependencies on a job further magnify disparities among occupational groups. Others have argued that changes in work lessen the distance between such groups, bringing them closer to an awareness of their belonging to the same social class. Whatever line of argument one follows, there seems to be a common point of departure for the investigation of crisis on workers' lives. That common point is, as Lockwood (1966) and Cousins and Brown (1975) suggest, the market, their work, and the status situation4 of their jobs, together with how this situation affects personal and community relations. To investigate this, one has to probe how domestic work is created, how these women become domestic workers, and how loyalties and oppositions secure jobs, as well as what all these processes entail for the workers' self-images and how they see others. These formations have to be socially reconstructed by researchers, in a process similar to putting together a puzzle, and this involves more than just an understanding of the functioning of an occupation in times of transition. It also involves examining how people understand and respond to change.

For female migrant domestic workers, as will be made clearer in the analysis that follows, their journey from their homelands and into domestic service in Greece began in the 1970s and in the early 1990s with the collapse of governments, welfare systems, traditional work regulations, and mobility opportunities based on education and work expectations (Therborn 2006). It is not my intention to analyze these here, but merely to point out that domestic workers today are the subjects of a given historical period of social organization—one that is specific to Europe and that has resulted in people's displacement from work, the dissolution of social ties, and a shift to more traditional, generic, and other ascribed divisions of labor (Nikolinakos 1981; Schierup 1985). Within this social context, it is important that domestic servants in Greece must be understood not only as workers employed in personal service but also as individuals whose market value, work prospects, and social status are connected to their ethnicity and gender (Anthias et al. 2013; Bloch 2013; Trimikliniotis and Fulias-Souroulla 2013). The experience of crisis, therefore, begins with the historic transformation of migrant workers' social and civic status in Europe and in Greece. The question of what you do to survive is [End Page 5] important here, but no less so than the question of who you are. It is by attending to the latter question that we are led to argue that domestic work is more than a job: it is a reflection of a much broader historical and social process that does not simply occur the moment one becomes employed in domestic services. Every female migrant domestic worker has a backstory before she appears in a Greek household—one that is usually omitted from discussions about the social context of her life (Psimmenos 2013). Being dispossessed as workers in their country or place of origin, in Greece they became displaced citizens. Immigration policies, labor market regulations, and social stigmatization tied to ethnicity, migration, and gender all make life and labor in the new country rather predictable (Fakiolas 2000). The only place female migrant workers can hide while seeking opportunities for survival seems to be in personal service. For a migrant woman, the choice was and still is between prostitution, domestic service, and employment in other personal services, like catering, nursing, and cleaning, where she would usually be hired not by a household but by a private employment agency. But while the restricted nature of female migrant workers' external social circumstances and living conditions impose a number of limitations, they also offer an opportunity for women to distance themselves from most other migrants, whether they are from the same ethnic group or another. Becoming a domestic worker has thus gradually developed into a way for these women to distinguish themselves and advance their social status within the bounds imposed by the lack of social mobility (Musson 2010; Psimmenos 2012). Being attached to a Greek household provides them with not only economic and cultural distance from others but also social clout among the immigrant population because domestic service ranks higher on the status ladder of jobs than many others.

When one considers, therefore, the effects of the crisis on a particular work group, it is important not to omit a consideration of the terms of the basic requirements of the job itself. In our case, it is not the tasks that make the job or define the domestic worker; rather, it is the reciprocal relationships among labor, the place of work, and the physical, emotional, psychological, and status attachments of workers to their jobs and employers that do (Mendez 1998; Lan 2003). Domestic work is thus understood in direct relation to forms of deference, or to the behavioral patterns that make status distinction possible. To investigate this, one must concentrate on aspects of work that, as Du Bois ([1920] 1999) and Meacham (1977) have argued, allow us to discern people's attitudes and values toward the organization of their personal lives. In other words, their degree of dependency on the job and on their employers seem to be reflected not so much in the conditions of work, the house, the pay, or [End Page 6] the discipline imposed, but rather in the way that these strengthen or weaken workers' identity vis-a-vis "other people" outside their work. In our search for these "other people" and other relations, existing studies on domestic work lead us toward workers' primary and secondary solidarity groups, their welfare practices and values, and their job expectations. In times of both prosperity and recession, there is a variation in the degree to which domestic workers exercise these aspects of personal life.

Some scholars have written extensively on how crisis produces ruptures in existing relations and further isolates domestic workers (Lethbridge 2013). Others, however, have argued that income instabilities and structural changes in the labor market and employment lead workers to seek other jobs and social support from kin and peer groups beyond the small world of domestic work (Dickinson and Schaeffer 2001). In either case, as Orwell reminds us in his study of crisis, The Road to Wigan Pier ([1937] 1989), established habits, work customs, and familial relations are often the primary social setting in which women domestic workers organize their lives and search for answers in a turbulent and unstable social environment. This has always been, at least in social research and even more so in sociological studies of social stratification, one of the most pivotal elements in the analysis of an occupation and its relationship to workers' status and position in society (Hatt 1950).5

The question of migration

By 2014, life and labor for much of the working population in Greece could only really be described with one word: despair. Unemployment remained at an exceptionally high level and those fortunate enough to have a job had to live with the daily reality that they too might soon join the ranks of the unemployed. In this situation of uncertainty, people's pre-crisis hopes and aspirations had to be reassessed. To this condition of despair, which, according to Robert K. Merton (1949, cited in Allardt [1966] 2011, 173), shapes much of social life during times of crisis, one has to add the role of the state and its effects on people's social status and mobility opportunities. Since the onset of the social and economic crisis, the Greek state has ever more forcefully initiated a social policy based on class stereotypes, social stigmatization, and a cultural classification of people's needs and public services. These policies have not only pitted one social stratum against another but also strengthened traditional divisions, interpersonal competition, and generic barriers to mobility. Since 2009, employment and income opportunities have been reduced to such a low level that many people cannot satisfy their basic material needs without [End Page 7] support from welfare agencies or relatives. Between 2009 and 2012, the Greek economy lost 871,000 jobs (Dedoussopoulos et al. 2013; Dedoussopoulos 2014). With the increase in poverty, hunger has spread along with the so-called habits of poverty, such as drastic cuts in the consumption of basic goods and services. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2014), 23.1% of the population, or 2.6 million people, lived below the poverty level in 2013 (see also Papatheodorou and Missos 2013). The National Bureau of Statistics (2014) also states that 35.7% of the population lack four out of nine basic goods needed for survival; 29.4% are without adequate heating and are unable to pay their water, fuel, and electricity bills. At the same time, rising taxes, ballooning private and public debt, escalating food prices, the government's austerity measures, cuts in health and education, and persistently high levels of unemployment—up to 27.5% overall and over 50% among the youth according to the National Bureau of Statistics (2014)—have all contributed to making emigration a popular option again (Varoufakis et al. 2011; Michopoulou 2012). A discussion of life in crisis-ridden Greece would not be complete without mentioning the proliferation of pawnshops, the increase in the suicide rate, the rising crime rate, the spread of prostitution, escalating violence against minorities, and the growing numbers of people entirely dependent on food relief.

How do these problems impact migrants and domestic migrant workers? On a global scale, since its outbreak in early 2008, the crisis has produced different results from those immediately anticipated by governments, as well as different from what many scholars have suggested in the past about migration flows. As Charles Tilly (2011) argues, experts recognize the effect that the recession may have on the slowing down of migration flows between countries, even though they are more modest in their estimates than other observers or common assumptions would suggest. The explanations for this are several. The first, according to Tilly, is based on the historical findings of Hatton and Williamson (2009, cited in Tilly 2011, 677), whose study looked at the effects of a crisis on migration during the Great Depression of the 1930s. They concluded that, while migration was positively related to unemployment in the country of origin, it was negatively related to unemployment in the receiving country. When the social situation in both countries was defined by crisis, the receiving country had a key role in migration patterns. The second explanation, provided by Janet Dobson's analysis of the UK case, suggests that although depression hinders migration flows, its effects are more restricted than originally believed (Dobson, Latham, and Salt. 2009, cited in Tilly 2011, 677). There is a tendency among the scientific community to underestimate the long-term effects and overestimate the short-term effects of crisis on migration, ignoring the fact [End Page 8] that return migration is associated more with social conditions in the country of origin (Castles 2008, cited in Tilly 2011, 677; Papademetriou and Terrazas 2009). This is clearer in recent analyses of migration trends, which suggest a direct positive effect between crisis and the migrant population, reinforcing the idea that settlement in both home and receiving countries is called into question (Castles and Vezzoli 2009).

The third explanation is focused more on the issue of return migration. Emilio Reyneri (2009, cited in Tilly 2011, 677), Peter Martin (2009), Dimitris Papademetriou and Aaron Terrazas (2009), and Michael Fix et al. (2009) all argue that there are institutional and other structural parameters, both economic and noneconomic, that make it difficult or almost impossible to draw generalizations about migrant populations. These parameters are dependent on the work and employment-contract situation of different clusters of a migrant working population. Thus, the number of migrants returning to their country of origin is not easy to estimate, and this is especially true in the case of undocumented migrants, for whom exit seems far more difficult than unauthorized entry into a country (Tilly 2011; Moser and Horn 2013). Finally, as suggested in the analysis above, the years one has spent in a country, the type of job one performs, the ties or social networks that one has built, and one's experiences during the initial migratory journey may be enough to divert a migrant worker from his or her original objectives and expectations from migration and life (Piore 1979; Triandafyllidou and Maroukis 2012).

All the above explanations, suggesting that the story of crisis and migration is a rather complex one, are complemented by a series of studies suggesting that everything depends on the social context for the specific ethnic and work group in question. Even the question of declining immigration flows is contentious, since it may also be increasing. A backward-bending labor supply may occur, especially if a reduction in remittances forces more people from a given place to migrate in order to support their families and relatives (Piore 1979; Ruiz and Vargas 2009).

But there are also other factors that may contribute to a rise in the levels of immigration flows. Papadopoulos and Fratsea's (2013) study on sub-Saharan African migrants showed that political reasons, mainly relating to the Arab Spring and the relaxation of immigration control in the Mediterranean region, have led to an increase in the number of irregular or undocumented crossings despite the recession in the receiving countries. In relation to the crisis in Greece, the same study showed that the worsening of economic and job opportunities due to the recession has had an immediate impact on the regularization of migrants' status and on their social representation in Greek society. [End Page 9]

In his study on the welfare prospects of migrant workers in Greece during the recession, Thanos Maroukis (2013) similarly argues that crisis seriously affects the forms and modes of welfare protection for migrants. The informal social protection of mutual in-group provisions based on family and ethnic ties seems to be called into question during crisis. This is most evident in cases where members of the supporting group have as a result of unemployment either migrated or failed to continue providing assistance to other members. In addition, as shown by the reports of Anna Triandafyllidou and Maroukis (2012, cited in Maroukis 2013, 232), the present crisis in Greece has led to a rise in homelessness among live-in domestic workers and in part-time labor for live-out domestic workers. Both studies show that the crisis has had adverse effects on domestic migrant workers' legal status, which has led many to become trapped in the informal labor sector. However, as Maroukis (2013) points out, the worst case scenario for already low-status, low-income migrant workers is that the crisis may lead, first, to the loss of primary-group protection, and second, to the loss of social networks responsible for securing them stable positions in domestic service. As Christodoulos Bellas and Katerina Rozakou's 2012 research study shows, the crisis seems to have pushed women to reconsider types of employment that were prevalent at the time of their initial entry into the country. For domestics, this means that even among cleaners hired on a daily basis or on-call workers, a live-in type of employment is once more becoming popular as an alternative strategy for social security.

The contributions

The contributors to this collection conducted their analysis by taking a historical and sociological approach to domestic work in Greece. Konstantina Bada and Pothiti Hantzaroula explore the social development and regularization of domestic service in Greece since the nineteenth century, emphasizing the relationship among class and gender stratification, the rise of a moral welfare system, and the social division of labor. They pay considerable attention to the social mechanisms used to allocate and control domestic servants in private households. This is not limited to aspects of the economy but also includes social and political issues. In earlier periods, these social mechanisms were expressed as part of the moral and family orientation of women workers, whereas in later periods, industry, urbanization, and immigration flows provided the main channels for the regularization of domestic work and the regimentation of the worker. This study suggests that domestic workers in Greece were almost always considered as a separate category from other migrant workers. Through [End Page 10] their analysis of the case of child labor, the authors show that state policies succeeded in defining domestic services as a form of affective labor on the margins of the economy and public policy. This discussion contextualizes the emergence of so-called migrant jobs in a later historical period.

Iordanis Psimmenos outlines the key parameters that distinguish Greek domestic servants from women migrant domestic workers and provides a framework for analyzing the main factors that led to their job disposal in their countries of origin and their social displacement in Greece. In the receiving country, as part of the imposed Gastarbeiter (Guestworker) system, migrants developed mainly into a standing labor reserve, providing personal services and industrial work and catering to the growing needs of the middle class and its entrepreneurial culture. The expansion of the tertiary sector and social changes in the economy, prioritizing individual consumption and the private household economy over state and market organization, have led to the development of a separate and distinct form of work defined by ethnicity, gender, and a new mode of control. The emergent features of this system lie in the rise of a new division of labor and forms of paternalism and control that reestablish the padrone figure in labor relations and at the same time accustom workers to individual employers and private households. Guestworker employment, once the primary state pattern of migrant labor organization, has now turned into a personality and work bondage, thus separating migrant workers from other workers not only in terms of employment but also in terms of the jobs they do and the ways in which they relate to employers.

The analysis provided by Daria Lazarescu and Yiorgos Kouzas expands on existing approaches to intraoccupational mobility among low-income and low-status workers, exploring the factors that determine their career patterns and motives in times of hardship. In the past, the social links between objective factors influencing career patterns, such as work and living conditions, and subjective factors, like social relations and the meanings attached to them, varied according to the cultural background of workers, the type of employment, work regimes, and orientations to work. This seems no longer to be the case, according to Lazarescu and Kouzas. Their findings indicate that recession has had a reverse impact on the meanings attached to work by subjects, minimizing established achievements and expectations, while pushing subjects to seek initial patterns of employment like that of live-in domestic work. In addition, the study shows how recession has impacted indicators of domestic workers' social mobility. What was once considered an advantage in live-in and live-out types of domestic service has now been called into question by the research data. New criteria of mobility are observed. In line with this, the authors offer [End Page 11] an innovative understanding of new social status divisions and hierarchies among domestic workers that perpetuate their social dependence on their jobs and further encourage their deferential behavior.

In the analysis provided by Nikos Xypolytas, Katerina Vassilikou, and Theodoros Fouskas, the focus is on how the crisis affects domestic workers' transnational family ties and modes of organization, their emotional ties to their employers, and their capacities and motives for joining community associations. The authors highlight the role of these factors in the regimentation and discipline of workers in domestic jobs. Through an insightful critique, they demonstrate that domestic work as an institution is largely based on the regulation of emotions and the physical reproduction of one's own kin or family members, as well as the development of familial or noneconomic ties with employers. During the crisis, divisions are growing among workers, their own families, and their families of employment. Due to socioeconomic uncertainty, past emotional attachments are being renegotiated. Concerning community bonds, this study stresses the influence of job regimentation in the rise of individualism and antagonisms among domestic workers. It is noted here once more that the casual and individualized nature of employment is fragmenting collective identities outside the workplace. This process is intensified in times of change.

The last article in the collection looks at the welfare practices and values of domestic workers. Christoforos Skamnakis and Efrossini Malekaki offer a critique that questions not only the relationship between domestic work and welfare access but also the role of the job itself in formulating welfare motives and behaviors. They find, surprisingly, that barriers to welfare are raised not only by a system of social protection that impedes the entry of low-income workers but also by a culture built around informal, casual work, which reinforces attitudes and practices that justify workers' and employers' unofficial and indirect forms of social protection. The study shows that workers are being habituated to a social condition of marginalization from welfare, leading many women to become trapped in informal forms and networks of social protection. During the recession, modes of paternalism have been strengthened, but not in the same way as in the past. On the one hand, the crisis seems to have magnified social fragmentation, expanded the practice of cash for welfare, and engrained an in-job protection mentality more than ever before. On the other hand, the data suggests that in uncertain times the protective role played by employers, social networks, and state welfare cannot be taken for granted. [End Page 12]

Iordanis Psimmenos
Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Iordanis Psimmenos

Iordanis Psimmenos is Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Social Policy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens. He studied Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and gained a PhD from Durham University under the supervision of Professors R.K. Brown, H. Beynon, and P. Glavanis. He has written extensively on the labor process of public sector employees and of migrant workers. His current research and publications focus on the social impact of crisis on domestic and construction migrant workers in Greece, while he is completing a monograph on casual labor in Europe (1980–2017).


1. The study owes much to the scholarly contributions of W.E.B. Du Bois, in particular those reflected in Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil ([1920] 1990).

2. This study was possible due to the skills and insights of the contributors to the volume, and their long-term dedication to research on work and employment in Greece. The project, "Social and Economic Crisis: Conditions, Meanings, Social Actions," began in 2010 and ended in 2014. It was commissioned by the Centre of Social Morphology and of Social Policy at Panteion University and was directed by the editor of this volume. It is mainly a follow-up study to the research project, "Gender and Migration," directed by professors K. Kassimati and L. Moussourou in 2005–2008, which was also commissioned by the Centre of Social Morphology and of Social Policy at Panteion.

3. The research team included the following graduate students (at the time of the study): Kleopatra Antonopoulou, Maria Dima, Theodoros Fouskas, Theodoros Kollatos, Giorgos Kouzas, Daria Lazarescu, Effrosini Malekaki, Kostas Mylonas, Dimitris Stathis, and Christina Tsakalou.

4. In addition to David Lockwood's own understanding (1966), the emphasis here is on migration policies, labor-market segmentation, work regimes, and generic values and distinctions underlying migrant domestic workers' social position in Greek society.

5. The proposition refers here more to the so-called living room scale of social prestige, which relates economic conditions (that is, income) and work conditions to noneconomic personal and community life patterns and attitudes. See Warner 1949; Coxon and Davies 1968.


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