Marianna Charitonidou (ETH Zurich, National Technical University of Athens, Athens School of Fine Arts)
Immigration, Placemaking, Gender studies
Unauthorised immigration has emerged as a generalised fact in all Western economies in the post-Second World War era. In such a context, mobility and migration are constituting elements of urban society.Taking as a starting point the fact that domesticity is a construction of the nineteenth century, the main objective of this session will be to shed light on how migration challenges the concepts of user, domesticity and citizenship. Saskia Sassen’s understanding of immigration as “a process constituted by human beings with will and agency, with multiple identities and life trajectories beyond the fact of being seen, defined and categorised as immigrants for the purposes of the receiving polity, economy and society” is useful in order to better grasp the impact of migration on the status of public space, leading to a more open conception of it and to the reconceptualization of the notion of place beyond traditional definitions, while challenging the boundaries between what is public, communal and domestic. Migrant incorporation triggers processes of place-making which open up new social and conceptual spaces in the city. Over the last four decades, there is a changing paradigm in migration studies that are gradually paying more and more attention to the gender composition of the migration streams. This trend of studying conjointly gender and migration phenomena becomes more and more dominant. Special attention will be paid to methods of gender and migration scholarship drawing on social science approaches, treating gender as an institutional part of immigration studies and establishing legitimacy for gender in immigration studies. The session aims to reflect on the implications of establishing methods based on the endeavour to merge migration studies, urban studies and gender studies for the perception of the concepts of placemaking, displacement and domesticity, on the one hand, and for how the mobility from city to city is understood within the contemporary transnational context, on the other hand.
Wig Stores as Transnational Spaces of Self-Representation: a Case Study in Philadelphia
Min Kyung Lee (Bryn Mawr College)
Migration, Korea, African-American
In the post-war period, South Korea was the center of global wig manufacturing, making up a third of the country’s exports by the 1960s. As a state-sponsored industry, the country relied on its own female population for hair supplies and cheap labor, and benefited from the coinciding mass emigration of Koreans primarily to the United States. These new immigrants faced limited emigration of Koreans primarily to the United States. These new immigrants faced limited opportunities for work, and many chose self-employment, supported by a complex social network th extended back to Korea. They provided the crucial link for wig manufacturers to find a market for th hair products, developing distribution and retail outlets in the US.
In the 1960s and 70s, large department stores were the main outlet for wigs, but these products primarily catered to white women customers. The hair needs for African-Americans were often supplied in a more decentralized manner. African-American women became the dominant consume of wigs by the 1970s, and if previously, there were few dedicated stores for wig products, Koreans were able to capitalize on the retail void. Many shopkeepers were Korean women and located their stores in black neighborhoods. These shops were public retail spaces for African-American women, however, because of the particular nature of wigs, they also served as intimate social spaces for personal transformation.
While there are numerous studies on the wig economy and culture, there is virtually no study dedicated to the streetscapes occupied by wig stores as well as their interior spaces. This paper traces a transnational history of wigs and analyzes the gendered spaces of the stores through a ca study in Philadelphia. It describes the organization of private performances in the public space of a wig store, following how products made from Korean women’s hair, by Korean women, sold by Korean immigrant women to African-American women, mediate practices of self-representation.
The Right to Domesticity: Shared Residency of Care Workers and Old People
Shelly Cohen (Technion Israel Institute of Technology) and Yael Allweil (Technion: Israel Institute of Technology)
Migration, Domesticity, Home-making
The paper investigates forms of domesticity created by caretakers who live with seniors —particularly domestic workers who immigrate to Israel from poorer countries. Three main factors combined to create a new form of residence in Israeli society, in which old people share their residential space with their caregivers: increased longevity, work immigration, and welfare policy.
The study focuses on old women and female caregivers due to the high rate of women in the elderly population. Women are about 56% (about 565,000) of the seniors, and their relative share of the old population increases with the rise in age (Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 2018,). In addition, most of the migrant workers (78%), who work in nursing are women (the Population and Immigration Authority, 2018). Having the worker reside in the employer’s home is an essential condition for receiving a permit to employ a work migrant (Ben Israel, 2011). In any case, caring for the elderly creates an intensive encounter in the interior spaces and in the private sphere between old women and female migrant workers.
Gender studies have explored the role that domestic-worker-migration plays in shaping the geography of inequality. Feminist and political theorist Iris Marion Young (2005) recognizes four positive values of home: Privacy, Individuation, Preservation (a term referring to home-making practices), and Safety. For Young, these values are a basic right for everyone. Building on Young, this paper tests the four home values against ten case studies of residences shared by seniors and their caregivers in Israel. Combining architectural analysis of residential apartments with in-depth interviews—with seniors, caregivers, and sometimes members of their families— we call for the realization of the right to domesticity along the lines of “the right to the city,” which Henri Lefebvre formulated (1996). While the right to the city usually relates to public space, the right to domesticity relates to private space. The findings of this study reveal that various solutions—architectural, reform in policies, and an increase of awareness among seniors and their families—are necessary for enabling the existence of home values in shared living conditions.