Salazar Parrenas, Rhacel, and Eileen Boris. “Introduction.” Intimate Labors : Cultures, Technologies, and the Politics of Care, Stanford University Press, 2010, pp. 1–12.
Immaterial-, emotional-, and affective- are words often interchangeably coupled with labor to talk about work in which feelings are a central part of what is being exchanged. In this book, Eileen Boris and Rhacel Salazar Parrenas contribute intimate- and reproductive labor to the mix as they complicate the equation between those prefixes and bring nuance to their use. Boris and Salazar Parrenas define intimate labor as work that satisfies intimate needs of individuals, including sexual and affective needs but also hygiene, health and wellbeing. (7) These jobs, they hold, involve physical and/or psychic intimacy and they are traditionally performed by women and racial outcasts and therefore considered to have low exchange value. Boris and Parrenas highlight how touch–physical and emotional–is central to these occupations. They frame intimate labor as reproductive labor whenever it serves the purpose of sustaining the labor force. (7) That is, whenever it reproduces not only bodies but also ensures their permanence and performance in the marketplace. This book situates intimate labor within a neoliberal and globalized context that retains (even if by way of transfiguration) colonial ideologies and dynamics. The editors and contributors consider how precarity is transforming the demographics of certain jobs in which white men now experience “racialized feminization”. I find here a different spirit than in Hochschild's study of flight attendants and bill collectors. Additionally, Boris and Parrenas begin to account for the technological development that comes with globalization and the ways in which they are transforming the temporalities and modalities of intimacy.
Read the Introduction of Intimate Labors: Cultures, Technologies, and the Politics of Care here.