By linking the experiences of immigrant families with the increased reliance on cheap and flexible workers for care and domestic work in Southern Europe, this study documents the lived experiences of neglected actors of globalization - migrant women - as well as the transformations of Western families more generally. However, while describing in detail the structural and cultural contexts within which these women have to operate, the book questions dominant paradigms about women as passive victims of patriarchal structures and brings out instead their agency and the creative ways in which they take control of their lives in often difficult circumstances. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, the author offers a valuable dual comparison between two Southern European countries on the one hand and between two migrant groups, one Christian and one Muslim, on the other, thus bringing to light unique detailed data on migration decision-making, settlement and on the multiple ways in which different women cope with the consequences of their transnational lives.
Elisabetta Zontini was a Visiting Fellow at the International Gender Studies Centre at Oxford University and a Research Fellow in the Families & Social Capital ESRC Research Group at London South Bank University. She has published a number of ethnographic articles and book chapters on gender and migration in Southern Europe and is now Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham.