The sixth life story in Finding home in Europe, a HOMInG book edited by L.E. Pérez Murcia and S. Bonfanti (Berghahn, 2022), is about “Yolanda: A Peruvian Care Worker on the Spanish Frontline”, by Luis Eduardo Pérez-Murcia. The author relaborates on the life story of a Peruvian caregiver with a Spanish passport who has been living in Madrid since 2000, to explore two interrelated questions: whether and how care work constitutes a homemaking practice deployed by migrant care workers and how the ongoing pandemic shapes their experiences of home. In relation to the first question, the chapter shows that by caring for elderly people and newborns in Madrid, Yolanda has been able to reunite her family, educate her children and gain the respect, admiration and appreciation she needs to feel at home. The making of a home in Spain, however, is not free of complexities and negotiations. Working double shifts, Yolanda has often struggled to look after her family and herself and has had to learn to get used to being surrounded by death in her work. In relation to the second question, the chapter shows how practices of compulsive cleaning and social distancing within and beyond the domestic space have disrupted Yolanda’s experience of home within and beyond the domestic space.See the editors’ conceptual Introduction to the book here.
On the importance of care and caring practices for migrant homemaking, see most of the chapters in Boccagni & Bonfanti (eds., 2023), Migration and domestic space: Ethnographies of home in the making. On the experience of death among migrants and their transnational counterparts, see Perez Murcia (2023) ‘My soul stills hurts’: bringing death and funerals into the ageing-migration-home nexus, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 49:4 (962-978). On the changing experience and representation of home during the pandemic, see also Boccagni et al. (2022), ‘Stayhome’ as a YouTube performance: representing and reshaping domestic space under the 2020 covid lockdown in Italy, European Societies, 24:2 (129-153).
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