The book examines the experiences of Black women in Italy from the 1970s to the 1990s. Although Italy is still perceived as a recent immigration country, the book demonstrates how Black women were among the first groups of new migrants to the country. Black women migrating to Italy were employed almost exclusively as live-in domestic workers and detailed attention is paid to the history and political organization of this sector. Unlike much published work in Italian, this book adopts an integrated form of analysis where gender, ethnicity and class are seen to be interconnected constructs. The book also situates Black women within the framework of the national constituency of gender. This approach challenges the ideology surrounding the Italian family and demonstrates that while live-in domestic work created specific forms of social marginality for Black women, it paradoxically allowed Italian women to express their new social identities within and outside the family. The book concludes that Italian women have largely failed in their attempts to transform the division of labour within the home and that the decision to employ other (migrant) women to fulfill household tasks is a trend which sits uneasily within the framework of an inclusive feminist project for women.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Italian gender models; Italy and immigration; Setting the scene: the regional context; The ACLI-COLF and the domestic work sector in Italy; Black women and domestic work: the early years; Transformation and change; Domestic work and family life; Gender, ethnicity and class: the evolution of the ACLI-COLF organization; Crossing boundaries: the Libere, Insieme Association; Conclusion; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
'...provides a powerful critique of Italian feminism...fulfills well its goal of showing both the colour blindness of the Italian gender debate and the structural constraints affecting immigrant women in Italy...this is a well documented and politically engaged book which contributes fresh insights to the literature on both gender and migration in Europe and contemporary Italian politics and society.' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 'Andall's book...is excellent. She brings the reader through fascinating historical and qualitative data, offering post-colonial scholars a window into the manner in which feminisim can fall into the trap of feeding the very patriarchal systems and gender ideologies that are its mission to deconstruct. I highly recommend this book for undergraduate and graduate courses in women's, Italian, post-colonial studies, anthropology, geography and sociology.' Gender, Place and Culture 'This study goes far in developing important issues in the current political, feminist and immigration debates. It is thoroughly researched, topical, thought-provoking and provides a convincing argument for continued interdisciplinary research on contemporary Italy.' Interventions