Living with(out) maids : a Foucauldian discourse analysis : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
Domestic work in the South African context is a socially normalised employment option for predominantly women of colour, that when taken outside of ‘common knowledge,’ becomes questioned. The political transformations of South Africa from the Apartheid social order to the ‘Rainbow Nation’ of today, has seen a dramatic increase in immigration of South Africans since the late 1980’s to countries such as New Zealand. This raises questions as to how South Africans construct and constitute their ideas and beliefs around domestic work, in a country where the slavery and servitude of the Indigenous population is not rooted in similar historical contexts. Using Foucault’s genealogical method of discourse analysis, the knowledge and truth claims of eight South Africans living in New Zealand are deconstructed and explored, to address the research question of; how do South Africans now living in New Zealand construct Domestic Work? The analysis of these eight interviews is centred around the integral issues of race, gender, social class and political structures, to direct attention to the social, moral, political and economic institutions that sustain or contradict assumptions and claims. The dominant discourses of Race and Hierarchy, The Domestic Worker Employment Paradox, and Tension are identified from the analysis and explored, decentring South African race and gender relations in the New Zealand sphere. Power and knowledge as a circular concept promotes an “ethics” of the self for all who have immigrated, to engage in practical consciousness, critical self-awareness and reflexivity into the legitimacy of social knowledge.
Women domestics, South Africa, South Africans, New Zealand, Attitudes, Discourse analysis