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Catrin Lundström

"I Didn't Come Here to Do Housework"

On the basis of 13 in-depth interviews with Swedish women and one month of ethnographic work in the Swedish community in Singapore in 2009, this article examines how Swedish women, travelling from Sweden to Singapore as "expatriate wives" in the wake of their Swedish husbands, navigate gendered and racialised transnational spaces of domestic work and negotiating their changed identities as both housewives and employers of live-in maids in the household. How do the women justify their current division of labour in the light of Swedish national ideologies of work and Swedish ideals of gender and class equality?

Open access

Catrin Lundström

Abstract

The migrant’ tends to be imagined as a non-privileged, non-white, non-western subject in search of a better future in Europe or the United States and as such is a pre-constituted subject shaped by notions of marginalization and poverty. What kinds of stories are obscured by this recurrent image of ‘the migrant’ and how do such categorizations hamper the analysis of privilege, belonging and white normativity within studies of migration? Why are some individuals not regarded as migrants despite their migrant status? Why are other individuals seen as migrants and thus denied their national belonging in spite of their formal status as national citizens? The article develops analytical tools on migration, belonging and citizenship, with particular attention to (a) autochthony and belonging, (b) race and citizenship and (c) white capital.