Deborah Altamirano

altamidrbrg18 [at]
Associate Professor of Anthropology
State University of New York, Plattsburgh
Appointment Dates:
(Jan 9, 2018 – Jul 8, 2018)
Research Project:
Navigating Austerity: Women Migrant Care-Workers & the (Un)der/Employed in Contemporary Greece
In 2009, when Greece was in the initial throes of the global financial crisis, the country was subjected to both EU and IMF imposed austerity measures that have had a profound impact on the Greek population. The severe economic and fiscal adjustments include “pension and benefit cuts, salary reductions and tax increases” (Vasilopoulou et al, 2014:388)1. Among those most impacted are hundreds of thousands of female migrants employed as in-home domestic care workers who, according to the Greek National Statistical Service (2007), comprise over 50 percent of all female migrants employed in Greece. These women workers provide, what Sonya Michel and Ito Peng (2012:416)2 have identified as, the “migrant-in-the-family’ concept of care regimes in which families hire non-native live-in care-workers. Thus, employers are able to preserve ‘familialistic’ ideals of care consistent with traditional patterns of care-giving. But how do these “migrants-in-the-family” who have been living in intimate family households fare when their employers become under or unemployed? I employ the ethnographic method to examine the lived experiences of Greek nationals and the women migrant care-workers in their employ and examine the liminal and gendered spaces that both inhabit as they navigate economic austerity and pervasive social and political uncertainty.