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‘NOT MY PARENTS’ HOUSE’: THE DISCIPLINING OF ETHIOPIAN WOMEN MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS IN THE GULF STATES [Abstract ID: 1001-06]
Based on the principles of discipline as developed by Michel Foucault, the researchers argue that Ethiopian migrant domestic workers in the Middle Eastern Gulf countries find that they have safer migration experiences if they submit to multiple disciplinings of their bodies and characters to fit the normative ideals of the compliant, obedient and unthreatening domestic worker. The evidence for this argument comes from field research conducted in 2015 by the presenters in the 'hotspot' area of feminized migration of North Wello. The research aimed to inform a new Safe Migration project for the Freedom Fund. The research indicated that in the face of extreme levels of insecurity and the real threats of physical, sexual or psychological harm by female and male employers, Ethiopian women migrants take proactive 'disciplinary' measures in terms of mode of dress and limited interaction with men. The researchers understood such measures to be indications of Foucauldian principles of self-discipline by the 'docile bodies' of migrant workers. (1994) Although exact figures are unknown, large numbers of Ethiopian women find themselves in such a position of vulnerability, particularly as they tend to travel to countries in the Gulf States and Middle East where legal frameworks for labour migrants remain weak (ILO, 2011).