MIGRANT DOMESTIC CAREWORKERS: Between the Public and the Private in Catholic Social Teaching

Authors

  • Catherine R. Osborne

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Theology at Fordham University
      Catherine R. Osborne is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. Her research interests center on the history of twentieth-century Catholicism. Catherine R. Osborne, Fordham University, c/o Fordham University Dept. of Theology, 441 E. Fordham Rd, Bronx, NY 10458, cosborne@fordham.edu
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Catherine R. Osborne is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. Her research interests center on the history of twentieth-century Catholicism. Catherine R. Osborne, Fordham University, c/o Fordham University Dept. of Theology, 441 E. Fordham Rd, Bronx, NY 10458, cosborne@fordham.edu

ABSTRACT

This essay argues that Catholic (magisterial) social teaching's division of ethics into public and private creates a structural lacuna which makes it almost impossible to envision a truly just situation for migrant domestic careworkers (MDCs) within the current horizon of Catholic social thought. Drawing on a variety of sociological studies, I conclude that it is easy for MDCs to “disappear” between two countries, two families, and, finally, two sets of ethical norms. If the magisterium genuinely wishes Catholic ethicists to address the plight of these migrant women, normative Catholic social teaching must pay more attention to household sociological realities and more fully absorb the feminist critique of the sharp line between the public and the private, between care and paid work.

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