Accepted paper:

Channels of Precariousness: Integration and Care amongst Berlin Migrant Women

Authors:

Maayan Ashkenazi (LSHTM)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the role of precarity in the construction of various care imaginaries. Using two case studies of unemployed migrant women organisations in Berlin, it explores the role of 'integration' as it pits neoliberal labour market logics against migrant histories.

Paper long abstract:

Unemployed migrant women occupy what is normally considered a highly unstable and precarious position. Within the context of a neoliberal urban European setting, the intersecting conditions of exclusion and vulnerability upon which this category depends, hangs on a range of narratives which include aspects of care, integration and professionalisation. This paper compares two organisations' attempts to challenge unemployed migrant women's perceived precarity and vulnerability, as it is seen to depend on their migrant histories, through projects designed to prepare them for the labour market in the city of Berlin. In both contexts the professionalisation of women's relations of care to each other, which were often already practiced without formal recognition, came to be instrumentalised within a neoliberal logic of labour market preparedness. In addition, at the organisational level, the extent to which such projects were able to compete successfully for local governmental funding depended on a conception of 'integration' that tied their own particular form of care for these women with economic independence. Precarity in this context emerges as a generative force of various care imaginaries, which are inherently tied to particular conceptions of 'integration' and 'care' marshalled by a range of actors as they compete to position themselves as able intermediaries between women's instabilities and a wider labour market.

panel P056
Beyond precarity: the politics of hope, care, and solidarity under conditions of unsettling (im)mobility [Anthropology of Labour Network]