This article examines the functions of the "dual discourse" about Peruvian migrant domestic workers in contemporary Santiago. A 2002 field study found that middle-class employers of Peruvian workers simultaneously praised them as superior workers and denigrated them as uneducated and uncivilized. While this response is not unique to Santiago, this study argues that it fulfilled particular ideological functions in this context. The praise served to discipline the Chilean working class, who middle-class employers claimed no longer knew their place. The epithets served as a foil for Chilean national identity. Stories about Peruvians serve as tools in ongoing ideological contestations over class, race, and nation in Chile and, at the same time, shape the working conditions and integration of the migrants themselves.


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pp. 87-116
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2007
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