This article discusses the negotiations of migrant domestic workers in Hà Nội with the urban labor market, the conditions and relations of paid domestic work, and their life away from home. These negotiations indicate constraining structures of the labor market and the challenging conditions of urban life and work. They shape and are shaped by the power relations that the domestic workers simultaneously resist and legitimize through an active investment in the cultural discourse of reciprocal affection and harmony. The negotiations, however, demonstrate the diverse ways in which domestic workers actively carve out niches of autonomy and control over their life and work.
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