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Shadow MothersNannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering$
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Cameron Lynne Macdonald

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520222328

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520222328.001.0001

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Nannies on the Market

Nannies on the Market

(p.42) 3 Nannies on the Market
Shadow Mothers

Cameron Lynne Macdonald

University of California Press

This chapter introduces three types of nannies common in the Boston area in Massachusetts and describes their different routes to nanny work, as well as the problems they face in an occupation that is legally and socially defined as being part of the family rather than as doing skilled work. The interview with the caregivers reveals that they consider themselves more skilled than other domestic workers and they take pride in the quality of care they offer, especially as compared to care offered at daycare centers. The analysis also indicates that these caregivers entered the employment relationship constrained by specific cultural values and institutional barriers where their employers valued a professional-class version of intensive mothering that emphasized concerted cultivation.

Keywords:   nannies, Boston, Massachusetts, skilled work, family, caregivers, domestic workers, daycare centers, employment relationship, cultural values

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