Hired Daughters
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Hired Daughters examines a fading tradition of domestic service in which rural girls familiar to ordinary Moroccan families were placed in their homes until marriage. In this tradition of "bringing up," the girls are considered "daughters of the house," and part of their role in the family is to help with the housework. Gradually, this tradition is transforming into one in which workers unfamiliar to their host families are paid a wage and may not stay long, but where the Islamic ethics of charity, religious reward, and gratitude still inform expectations on both sides. Mary Montgomery examines why Moroccans so often talk about their domestic workers as daughters, what this means for workers and employers, and how this is changing in contemporary Morocco. Prioritizing the experiences and perspectives of these women, Montgomery charts the tension that has developed between socially embedded, loyal domestic workers who operate within narratives of kinship and obligation and women who seek greater individualization, privacy, and self-empowerment. Hired Daughters offers a nuanced understanding of a world that bridges public and private, morality and money, family and outsiders. In doing so, it provides an intimate consideration of contemporary Moroccan households as economic enterprises and sites of navigation between the traditional and the global.

Part I: The Social Relations of Domestic Service.

1. A City Quarter and the 'Popular' Ideal

2. Mothers and Daughters

3. A Civilizing Mission: Charity, Reward, and Gratitude

4. Serving Neighbors, Serving Strangers: Markets and Marketplaces

Part II: Domestic Workers in the Wider World

5. Domestic Workers in the City

6. Domestic Workers at Home

7. Domestic Workers and the Law






Publié par
Date de parution 19 février 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253041036
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0950€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Domestic Workers among Ordinary Moroccans
Mary Montgomery
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2019 by Mary Montgomery
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-04100-5 (hdbk.)
ISBN 978-0-253-04101-2 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-0-253-04104-3 (web PDF)
1 2 3 4 5 24 23 22 21 20 19
To Fatima
Domestic work is work. Domestic workers are, like other workers, entitled to decent work.
These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.

Dramatis Personae



Note on Transliteration

Part I The Social Relations of Domestic Service

1 A City Quarter and the Popular Ideal

2 Mothers and Daughters

3 A Civilizing Mission: Charity, Reward, and Gratitude

4 Serving Neighbors, Serving Strangers: Markets and Marketplaces

Part II Domestic Workers in the Wider World

5 Domestic Workers in the City

6 Domestic Workers at Home

7 Domestic Workers and the Law


References Cited

Interlocutors referred to multiple times are listed here. All names and some biographic details have been fictionalized.
The Sebbaris
Mui Latifa
great-grandmother, head of the Sebbari household, widow
Latifa s late husband
Latifa s daughter, unmarried, lives with Latifa
Latifa s daughter, married, lives elsewhere in l Oc an
Latifa s daughter, married, lives in Casablanca
Latifa s daughter, married, lives in the Sebbari building
Nadia s daughter
ajja Jamila
Latifa s oldest neighbor, lives in the Sebbari building
Workers Connected with the Sebbaris
former domestic of house across the street
Khadija Hinde Najat Rachida
brought up and married off by Latifa
Mui Fatiha
Rachida s mother-in-law, herself a domestic worker
Wi am
brought up by Latifa s sister
stayed with Latifa as teenager, returned to work briefly at Nadia s
worked during her summer holiday for Latifa, fourteen years old
worked briefly for Latifa, married with children
worked briefly at Latifa s and Nadia s
worked at Nadia s
worked briefly at Nadia s
Malika s younger sister, worked briefly for Nadia s sister Salima
former long-term worker at Nadia s, left to marry
Other Employers
my host mother in l Oc an, retired teacher, formerly/occasionally employed Salma and Mbarka
my host father
L Oc an resident
L Oc an resident
L Oc an resident
nurse and activist, med na resident
government office employee, employed Rahma, then Zineb, in city center
L- ajja
employed Hafida, city center
Workers Living in l Oc an
lives out, married, my agony aunt
once worked for Touria, married with children
Salma s mother-in-law
Women from Ba Karim and Awlad Ahmed Villages (Gharb Region)
worked briefly in l Oc an
Miriam s younger sister
Miriam s older friend, divorced
Hafida s younger sister
Hafida s brother s wife, not working
Hafida s friend
Ilham s friend and relative
Hafida s paternal cousin, divorced
Nawar s sister, no longer working
Hafida s maternal cousin, not working
Other Workers
met at m qef (labour market), worked at Hayat s, lives out in l Oc an
Zineb s sister
young woman at m qef
older woman at m qef
neighbor who interfered at the m qef
Brokers and Agents
office in l Oc an, closed down
office in l Oc an
office in Sal
office in center of Rabat
sams ra in suburb of Rabat
B UT NO M OROCCAN WOMEN WORK AS DOMESTICS ANYMORE ! A preeminent Moroccan sociologist was trying to persuade me to drop my ridiculous idea of an ethnographic study of domestic service in Rabat when who should walk into her living room with the tea but a plainly Moroccan domestic? The sociologist did not introduce this woman, who, after depositing her tray, disappeared once more into a back region of the apartment. I was surprised that my host enthused about the phenomenon of Filipina domestics, employed by relatively few elite Moroccans, as a worthy subject of study but was uninterested in matters of class among her own compatriots and under her own roof. It is hoped that this book demonstrates that what goes on between women locally does matter, in Morocco and elsewhere.
Denial seems an appropriate word. The elite feel that progress has been made; their friends run projects for poor women somewhere, so why would anyone have to work as a domestic nowadays? It was perhaps a similar blind optimism that prompted American sociologist Lewis Coser to predict that servants would soon be obsolete. That was in 1973, and domestic workers are still not out of work. Many women in Morocco are indeed working as domestics today, and not only in wealthy households but also among ordinary folk of modest means, those known locally as sh a b Moroccans. It is now commonplace to argue that service does not die but simply takes another form ( The Economist 2011, 80). The present ethnography captures a moment at which, not for the first time, service among ordinary Moroccans is changing. The new form of interest here is not (as the Moroccan sociologist would have it) that local women are leaving this insalubrious work to transnational migrants but instead a subtler shift with a deeper history. Domestic work, once performed by kin, neighbors, or the children of clients brought up charitably as daughters of the house until marriage, is increasingly done by easy-come-easy-go strangers who are paid a wage.
Of course change in domestic work is not wholesale; older forms of service exist alongside emerging forms, just as slavery existed alongside free labor. A fine set of gradations marked the continuum running from one to the other, argued Mohammed Ennaji, writing on nineteenth-century Morocco (1999, 89). Elsewhere slavery has been described as a combination of elements, which if differently combined-an ingredient added here or subtracted there-might become adoption, marriage, parentage, obligations to kinsmen, clientship, and so forth (Miers and Kopytoff 1977, 66). 1 In Morocco these coexisting spheres of exchange (Piot 1991) forge and maintain different kinds of relationships, reflecting, among other things, the varying importance of connectedness and how open people are to strangers. But the issue is more complicated and challenges the assumptions of narratives of modernity and gendered inequality. While employers pay domestics, they still invoke the language of kinship so that a paradox emerges: workers are hired to be daughters. Traditional ways of talking about domestics as daughters of the house are applied to quite different persons, like pasting an old label on a jar of newly made jam.
There are plenty of labels for domestic workers. Kh edd ma is a feminine active participle and simply means worker but, unqualified, always refers to a domestic (just as kh dim/a in standard Arabic means servant ). Se khkh ra , from the verb se khkh er , to run errands, functions in the same way but is more pejorative and conjures up the hurried steps of a child who will be in trouble if she does not do the job quickly. The French term for maid, bonne (or petite bonne in the case of a minor), is commonly used in Morocco, thrown into otherwise Arabic sentences by women whose ease with the language of the protectorate reflects a certain level of education. Meanwhile, official discourse has moved from bonne to domestique and now alternates between the more politically correct (for the time being) terms employ e de maison , travailleuse domestique , and travailleuse de maison or, in standard Arabic, mus ida manzil ya (literally house helper ). But a rose by other names does not in fact smell as sweet; many mul n d-diy r (household heads) insist that their domestics are not kh edd m t or any of these other things but their daughters. Relations of kinship, which imply sharing without reckoning (Fortes [1969] 2004) over the long term, are used to describe arrangements where a wage is indeed reckoned, on the basis of work done in a shorter time frame.
I unpack the one of the family rhetoric by asking not only why it is so irreplaceable b

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