Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 8, No 2 (2007)

Volume 8, No. 2, Art. 11 – May 2007

Reading Affect—On the Heterotopian Spaces of Care and Domestic Work in Private Households

Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez

Abstract: The focus of this paper will be reading affect. By working through examples of ethnographic research with domestic and care workers and their employers in Germany from a discursive-deconstructive perspective, I will show how a deconstructive reading of affect can add to our understanding of (a) 'the speaking subject' embedded within a discursive framework, and, (b) "intensity" in the encounters between domestic and care workers and their employers. These encounters occur in a "heterotopian space", a heterogeneous space ruled by the effects of affective bonds. In this space affect denotes a more or less organised experience, an experience which probably has empowering and disempowering consequences, registered at the level of encounter, and not necessarily to be understood in linguistic terms, but which is analysable as effect (MASSUMI, 1996, p.237). It is by thinking through the words of those who inhabit this gendered and ethnicised heterotopia that the paper looks at the following questions: How can this encounter be read on the basis of affective bonds? How can we grasp affect as a moment of intensity in these relationships? What can reading FOUCAULT, DERRIDA and SPIVAK and thinking through them add to the theorisation of affect?

Key words: affect, discourse, deconstruction, difference, care and domestic work, transnational migration, heterotopia

Table of Contents

1. Introduction—The Context: Governmentality and Biopolitics

2. Discourse Analysis meets Deconstruction meets Deterritorialisation

2.1 On the limits of language

2.2 Thinking historical and geographical genealogies

3. Transnational Migration and Citizenship

4. Encountering Affect

5. Affection and Intimacy

6. Divided Spaces

7. Conclusion: Care and Domestic Work—An affective heterotopia







1. Introduction—The Context: Governmentality and Biopolitics

In FOUCAULT's work on governmentality, analysis is centred on the question of governing in relation to the State and the Self. FOUCAULT (1982, 1996, 2000a) analyses the concept of "government" as a "human technology" in modernity, pointing to the shift from a Christian pastoral concept in feudal societies becoming a "modus operandi" in modern European societies in the 19th century. Governing becomes a central concept in the formation of modern societies as the Church's power over the population is transferred to the State. The police system takes charge of systematising, categorising and classifying the population through, for example, the introduction of survey techniques and the administration of population data. Within this context FOUCAULT (2000a) develops his concept of biopolitics. As Antonio NEGRI (2004) notes, "biopolitics" centres "life" as an instrument and means of power. Through the concepts of "governmentality" and biopolitics FOUCAULT develops his analysis of "micropower" relating it to the development of liberal macro-governmentality. This is the context in which I am discussing here the mechanisms of migration policies on the one side and "work-life balance" policies on the other; as sites of "governmentality" as impacting on the private households—a space of "micropower". Thus, I will consider the interviews that I conducted in private households with employers and employees and examine how they can become an expression of micropower, reflecting the neo-liberal macro structure of governmentality. The members of the private households are governed by policies that delineate the spectrum of individual options and management. The arrangement of domestic and care work in each private household are influenced by the dynamics of State policies. Moreover, relationships between the women I look at in this article, are embedded in a framework of biopolitics and governmentality. [1]

The relationship between biopolitics and governmentality enables us to think through the mechanisms of governing "life" along different processes of differentiation. One of the processes of differentiation which I will explore in this essay is how the everyday life of individuals articulates the macroscopic boundaries of power along the lines of gender and "race". This will illustrate that the categories "woman" and "migrant" describe a social embodiment1) as subjects of enunciation at the same time that they are effects of governmentality. Thus, the effects of work-life balance policies and migration policies are reflected in the microcosm of the private households. The materials I will work on are interviews that I collected together with a research group2) with migrant women, in particular Latin American women, and their employers3). The migrant women worked as care and domestic workers in private households in Hamburg and Berlin. As our study4) (CAIXETA, 2004) shows, relationships between employers and employees are determined by the paradox of professional distance co-existing with immediate intimacy. I will look at the moment of intensity in the encounter of these two groups of women (employers and employees) by discussing affect. This research project focuses on what GIBSON-GRAHAM, RESNICK and WOLF (2000) delineate in "Class and its others" as, to "speak the language of economy in unfamiliar ways". That is, in my case, to perceive "paid and unpaid domestic and care work" as part of the forces of the production of cultural and social relations. I am interested in the cultural articulation of the social relations that are produced in the more hidden and devalued sectors characterised as informal. I am making this hidden informality visible by analysing "domestic and care work" as an effect of cultural, discursive and social relations. By doing this I explore the diversity of everyday cultural practices whereby "domestic and care labour" is produced, appropriated and distributed. In this way as GIBSON-GRAHAM notes: "The emaciated and emotionally spare categories will take on flesh, become animated and animating, [and] realize the[ir] performative and interpellating potential" (2000, p.7). [2]

The method of deconstructive-discursive reading that I am proposing here will pursue two levels of representation. First, it will engage in the reconstruction of the discursive references in the interviews and second, it will go beyond the level of mere representation by tracing the silences or the contradictions in the text. I will thus first try to set "what is said" within a discursive framework, and second, I will trace what is "not being said". For the question I am dealing with here reading affect, it is the latter that interests us most. Nonetheless, as we will see through analysis of the chosen excerpts, it's the tension between the discursive materiality and the limits of linguistic expression, in which affect is articulated as trace. Affect is an expression of intensity, which is not mediated through language. It is created spontaneously in and through a situation in which we are moved by the coming together of different sensations as I will show later. I will thus work on the level of discursive power and examine how the subject identifies herself within this framework and second, on the level of affect by tracing the moments of dis-identification or escape, so to speak, of intensity in these accounts. Following these lines, the analysis of the interviews and conversations will pursue FOUCAULT's (1966, 1971, 1978a/b, 1995, 2000b/c) discourse analysis, and DERRIDA's (1967a/b, 1972) deconstruction by confronting these approaches with Gayatri C. SPIVAK's (1988a/b, 1993) deconstructive postcolonial feminist critique. Through this methodological framework, we will take up FOUCAULT's preoccupation, namely: "At what price can subjects speak the truth about themselves?" (FOUCAULT, 2000d, p.444). In an interview with Gérard RAULET on "Structuralism and post-structuralism", FOUCAULT (2000d) discussed his analysis of madness as a way of looking at the constitution of an "absolute other". I would like to ask similar questions regarding the constitution of an "absolute other" in the name of "woman" and "migrant", but I will also go a step further. I mean that I will trace the liminality of these instances of subject enunciations, by searching for their fluidity in and beyond the text—the moment of Becoming (DELEUZE & GUATTARI, 1987, p.262). In Gilles DELEUZE and Félix GUATTARI's sense "A becoming is not a correspondence between relations. But neither is it a resemblance, an imitation, or, at the limit, an identification" (ibid). Taking on board DELEUZE and GUATTARI's idea of "becoming", I will not restrict this study to a discussion of how regimes of territorialisation, such as migration and gender, are faced and coped with. Rather, I shall attempt to read the transversal movements that cross these politics of naming, refusing to be classified as one or the other:

"A line of becoming is not defined by points that it connects, or by points that compose it; on the contrary, it passes between points, it comes up through the middle, it runs perpendicular to the points first perceived, transversally to the localizable relation to distant or contiguous points. A point is always a point of origin. But a line of becoming has neither beginning nor end (…)" (DELEUZE & GUATTARI, 1987, p.323). [3]

Although the analysis of the relationship in the private households will be inspired by these ideas of becoming as a line of flight, and I will address this dimension through the deconstructive reading of the text, I will also keep our attention on the repressive practices and policies of naming through a discursive analysis. I will combine three apparently diametrical approaches, FOUCAULT's discourse analysis, DERRIDA's deconstruction and DELEUZE and GUATTARI's movement of Becoming to read affect and affection. These three approaches are required to answer the following questions: Which modalities of knowledge, techniques and practices are currently involved in creating subject positions of universality and difference as parallel and / or juxtaposed moments in the name of "woman" and "migrant"? What are the processes of differentiation that spell out a commonality as "woman" and a difference as "migrant"? How can we read the fluidity of these practices of enunciation? What escapes the discursive structure of the text? How can we read affect? [4]

2. Discourse Analysis meets Deconstruction meets Deterritorialisation

"In his reading, Derrida is doing no more than revive an old, old tradition (…) the reduction of discursive practices to textual traces. (…) I shall say that what can be seen here so visibly is a historically well-determined little pedagogy. A pedagogy which teaches the pupil that there is nothing outside the text, but that in it, in its gaps, its blanks and its silences, there reigns the reserve of the origin; that it is therefore unnecessary to search elsewhere, but that here, not in the words, certainly, but in the words under erasure, in their grid, the 'sense of being' is said. A pedagogy which gives conversely to the master's voice the limitless sovereignty which allows it to restate the text indefinitely" (FOUCAULT, 1979, p.27).

FOUCAULT's critique of DERRIDA's deconstruction resonates with Pierre BOURDIEU's critique which Peter ZIMA (2002, p.169) paraphrases as follows: "Deconstruction's verbal radicalism only deflects attention from its impotence as a critical theory of society and its institutions". FOUCAULT (1979) and BOURDIEU (1984) accuse DERRIDA of never having left the realm of idealist philosophy and of having failed to consider the actual and possible functions of deconstruction in the institution. These statements ignore DERRIDA's critique of the institutionalisation of philosophy. In "Du droit à la philosophie", DERRIDA (1990, p.452) writes: "The necessity of Deconstruction (…) did not derive in the first place from philosophical contents, themes or theses, philosophemes, poems, theologemes or ideologemes, but primarily from the global conditions of meaning, institutional structures, pedagogic or rhetorical norms (…)". For DERRIDA to deconstruct a text means to unravel the logic involved in producing a coherent text. DERRIDA is interested in particular in HEGEL's dialectic and HUSSERL's phenomenology. Through his deconstructive approach, DERRIDA tries to disrupt this logic by tracing the "traces" of the disseminated Other in the representation of a unitarian and coherent Self. Deconstruction represents a way of disseminating the fixed construction of Self and Other by diffusing their relationship of identitarian correspondence or equivalence. The trace in this sense is not what FOUCAULT misleadingly calls here "the reserve of the origin", nor is it "sense of being". Rather it is the "iterative force" (DERRIDA, 1988), the capacity within the chain of signs to escape the finality of an original meaning by being displaced into a new context through the constant movement of the signs. The trace is the expression of the blurring of the line between signifier and signified. There is no unmotivated trace: the trace is indefinitely its own becoming-unmotivated. Though in DERRIDA's sense there is neither symbol nor sign, there is a becoming-sign of the symbol (DERRIDA, 1976). It is at this point that DERRIDA's perspective resonates with DELEUZE and GUATTARI's concept of deterritorialisation as line of flight5), at the same time that it differs from it. [5]

As DELEUZE and GUATTARI note, the symbol "pertains to relative or negative deterritorialization" (DELEUZE & GUATTARI, 1987, p.157). DERRIDA's reading of the symbol, nonetheless, seems to relate the symbol to a textual structure which is connected to previous and future signs. DERRIDA's concept of symbol emerged out of space and temporality. In DELEUZE and GUATTARI's sense it refers to a logic of territorialisation, of origin and belonging, that they aim to dissolve by deterritorialising the symbols from any linear genealogy. Deconstruction presupposes that there is a structure that needs to be dismantled, meanwhile DELEUZE and GUATTARI suggest overcoming any notion of structure. Instead, they introduce us into thinking of "assemblage" as a way of capturing the different symbolic and energetic movements that result in a momentary configuration which is kept in motion through the forces driving it:

"(…) assemblage relates not to the production of goods but rather to a precise state of intermingling of bodies in a society, including all the attraction and repulsion, sympathies and antipathies, alterations, amalgamations, penetrations, and expansions that affect bodies of all kinds in their relations to one another" (DELEUZE & GUATTARI, 1987, p.99). [6]

The assemblage is not solely a product of language; it is more a juxtaposition of affects and intensities, in which a Becoming takes place. DELEUZE and GUATTARI's deterritorialisation of signs opens up a space in which to think beyond language and take into account the productive and creative potentiality of affect. This perspective is indispensable for this attempt to read affect. How can we then read affect with a deconstructive and discursive toolbox that has emerged from the analysis of language as an instance of power? [7]

2.1 On the limits of language

Although DELEUZE and GUATTARI open up the perspective of reading affect along the lines of assemblage by pointing beyond a logic of territorialisation, their production of knowledge still engages with a territorialising project on two levels: (a) through the institutional mechanisms of the production of knowledge that they are engaging with, and (b) something more relevant for the question I am posing here, the organisation of the social field through antagonistic relationships of difference and hierarchy. With regard to this, I argue that occidental thinking based on metaphysics cannot be transgressed by shifting our perspective towards a rhizomatic model, as long as this remains the dominant foundation of occidental thinking. Nor can we despise the epistemic violence of discourses as long as they form the politics of interpellation through which subjection and subjectivation takes place. The politics of naming that the women I interviewed face are not merely overcome by thinking their positionalities outside the discursive mechanisms in which they are interpellated as migrant women. Nonetheless, an approach that enables us to consider the non-linguistic dynamics in the configuration of social positionalities, leads us to perceive the complexity and intricacy of the "speaking in the name of the absolute Other". So, in our readings of the interviews, we will not restrict ourselves to attesting the reiteration of the interpellation, nor to a focus on the performative character in which this name is enacted and embodied. Rather, we will address the moment of transgression of this name by focusing on what is not said in the text and how affect works in it. [8]

In this regard, we will work with DERRIDA's deconstruction and FOUCAULT's discourse analysis, at the same time as we attempt to go beyond it through our reading of affect. We need to note that DERRIDA's understanding of "trace" is a crucial point here, as it opens out the possibility of not only thinking the de-centering of the concepts of structure and sign, but going altogether beyond the Saussurian6) framework of signs, signifiers and signified (GILBERT, 2004, p.11). In this respect, DERRIDA is closer to FOUCAULT than is generally thought, as both refer in their work to the existence of "discursive" and "non-discursive" forces. [9]

DERRIDA's deconstruction thus aims to question the HEGELian logic of dialectics by capturing ruptures produced through the temporal and spatial dynamics involved in the productivity of language per se. DERRIDA detects the paradoxes and aporias of linguistic communication by showing that metaphysics can only be criticised with metaphysical concepts. DERRIDA expresses his critical ideas within the framework of dominant discursive patterns (ZIMA, 2002). He engages with the scapes and incoherences produced within ontology. At the same time, his deconstructive reading strives towards the limits of logocentrism in language marked by the "a" in différance (DERRIDA, 1967a). As DERRIDA writes on differences:

"They have not fallen from the sky fully formed, and are no more inscribed in a topos noetos, than they are prescribed in the grey matter of the brain. If the word 'history' did not in and of itself convey the motif of a final repression of difference, one could say that only differences can be 'historical' from the outset and in each of their aspects" (DERRIDA, 1982, p.7). [10]

Keeping this observation in mind while working with deconstruction from a methodological angle implies deconstructing the idea of deconstruction itself as method. Nonetheless, working with deconstruction also implies engaging with a critical reading that is aware of the political implications of language and representation. [11]

Translating these ideas in relation to our question of the analysis of the interviews opens up a space in which to think about articulations within the logic of the movement of différance. Assuming that the "speaking subject" might be structured through the logic of identity and difference, reading an interview requires taking a closer look at the rhetorical, semantic and syntactic arrangement of language in the interviews and conversations. Questions which then become relevant are, for example, how a subject perceives him- or herself within a dominant script of representation? How might this subject be announced and represented due to the dominant position in society that s/he inhabits, while the gendered subaltern subject is omitted from this text? These questions produce a different heuristic perspective on the relationship between discourse and representation. The question thus becomes: what is excluded from the text? [12]

2.2 Thinking historical and geographical genealogies

In my work on biographical interviews, I have shown that biographical representation evolves within a discursive setting7) in which norms and conventions play a role in the way a life story is represented. I have done this not only by showing the discursive embeddedness of Self-representation, but also by considering a deconstructive analysis of the rhetorical, semantic and syntactic arrangement of language in interviews. Developing from this, I have worked with Gayatri C. SPIVAK's (1993) understanding of deconstruction and discourse analysis. Although SPIVAK follows DERRIDA's attempt to deconstruct metaphysical thinking, her aim lies in historically and geographically contextualising this tradition of thinking within the legacies of European colonialism (SPIVAK, 1993, pp.102-103). SPIVAK's aim is to deconstruct the premises and paradigms of a metaphysical thinking emanating from an occidental philosophical tradition. She focuses on HEGEL's dialectical subject-object relationship by showing that this relationship has evolved within a colonial framework. This has major implications for the questions that FOUCAULT raised: "How is it that the human subject took itself as the object of possible knowledge? Through what form of rationality and historical conditions? (…) At what price can subjects speak the truth?" (FOUCAULT, 2000d, p.444). SPIVAK's approach suggests that there is no "universal" subject that takes itself as the "object of knowledge". Rather this subject position is complicated by the fact that within the framework of colonialism the European "subject that becomes an object of knowledge", occupies this position via subjection of a "constructed Other". The "constructed Other" is constitutive for the construction of the sovereign subject in the name of Europe. In relation to the sovereign subject the "Other" is constructed in gendered and racialised terms. But this "gendered, racialised Other" as SPIVAK notes, is not mere construction, this discursive construction is translated onto the institutional level of politics and economics, thus creating the existential conditions of subalternity. Her approach does not involve an analysis of the rules and conventions of a discursive framework of producing truth, or of slipping signifiers, but also considers the metaphysical impact of discourses in postcolonial and imperial terms. FOUCAULT's concept of power-knowledge is set, through SPIVAK's8) analysis, within a geographical and political context (SPIVAK, 1988a/b). [13]

In this sense the narrative accounts that we encounter in qualitative methods, represent a discursive effect of "a becoming in space and time". To trace this movement in the representation of employers and employees within private households, we are working here with a deconstructive-discursive reading of the interviews. The combination of these two approaches seems to pose some problems if we follow FOUCAULT's critique of DERRIDA. FOUCAULT is not interested in an immanent reading of the text on the basis of its differential system. Rather, he is interested in questions of discursive embeddedness or productive power relations. We could say that, in comparison to FOUCAULT's latest work on governmentality, DERRIDA ignores the State as an instance of power. His object of analysis is the deconstruction of the occidental philosophical tradition of metaphysics. Both philosophers are engaged in criticising the idealist tradition in 19th century German philosophy. Nevertheless, DERRIDA's approach stays, as FOUCAULT rightly notes, within the text, it fails to take into account the role of institutionalised and local practices as instances and producers of signifying practices. [14]

However, these two approaches can be made to work together. FOUCAULT's approach guides us to an analysis of the discursive configuration of an "object of knowledge". FOUCAULT's discourse analysis relates the individual utterance to a network of discourses in which the "absolute Other" is configured, in the present case, as a "woman" or a "migrant woman". His question of what enables a subject to speak is related to the institutional context, in this case that of migration and gender regimes. Although domestic and care work is situated in the private sphere reminding us of its individualised management, it is also a field highly regulated by the state. This is due not only to the work-life balance programmes that impact on private households, but also to the impact of the international division of work on the local level. In Western Europe today, especially in middle class households, domestic and care work are organised along gender ("race") divisions. Whilst some duties are still managed by the female members of the household, a domestic worker is employed for other duties. This perspective leads us to question the impact of hegemonic discourses on the subject itself. How the subject identifies itself within this discursive setting, but also how the subject refuses this identification by struggling and searching for other points of reference, stands at the forefront of discourse analysis. However, discourse analysis is engaged in tracing the rationalities in play. It is the task of a deconstructive reading to detect the silences and inconsistencies in the text. These discursive gaps will be explored by taking up DELEUZE and GUATTARI's notion of affect. [15]

3. Transnational Migration and Citizenship

In my current research on the relationship between transnational migration and work I approach the field of transnational migration as a dynamic social movement within what HARDT and NEGRI (2000) have termed as "Empire". Within this conceptual framework of state and government analysis in post-modern times, transnational migration is related to post-colonial interdependencies and to new modes of capitalist production. Manuel CASTELLS summarises these new modes of capitalist production under the term informationalism (CASTELLS, 1996). With this term he describes the development of the cognitive, conceptual and creative industries, referring to the expansion of capitalist production in the information, media and knowledge sectors. What does not get mentioned in this analysis is the care and sex industry (PRECARIAS A LA DERIVA, 2004, GUTIERREZ RODRIGUEZ, 2007). In this context what is relevant for us is that transnational migration evolves not only as a result of the dynamics of global economy, but also of the dynamics of global governance, with the "war on terror"9) being one of its pivotal points. The "war on terror" represents in this case one of the political fields of conflict and negotiations that has an impact on the social sphere. In this sense Antonio NEGRI introduces the idea of "guerra ordinativa"10) (NEGRI, 2003, p.74), of war as a principle of the organisation of the social order. One of the columns of this new order is migration and border politics as well as the discourse of integration. Since 9/11 policies of admission, settlement and citizenship11) have become more restrictive within the European Union12). This has had an impact on freedom of movement, residency, and non-EU citizens' access to the labour market. This development has a local dimension, expressed in Germany by the implementation of Anti-Terror policies13). [16]

In private households we encounter the immediate effects of these policies as the majority of the domestic and care workers interviewed are living in Germany without legal residency. We cannot say that the women we have interviewed came from war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq: the majority arrived in Western Europe during the 1990s and the beginning of 2000, mostly from Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Zimbabwe. These regions are not all war zones, but they suffer indirectly from the new world order established through the discourses and policies which back up the "sovereign order of Empire". This is the location of the political and discursive setting of the interviews with employers and employees in private households in Berlin and Hamburg. In this context discourses of citizenship and non-citizenship are negotiated among the domestic and care workers. For example, Patty14) who is from Chile and working in Berlin told me:

"(…) but you are here alone, facing a different culture, facing also a different language, a new society that for you and a person of America is quite a shock, and especially, if you don't have papers, this is a huge wall, it is quite hard and there is no one, no one. Very often the people that come here don't find a hand held out in solidarity or somebody that is prepared to help them"15) (Patty, 15-19; transl. EGR). [17]

After I introduced myself as an academic working on gender and migration with a migration background (due to my parents' migration in the 1960s from Spain to Germany), Patty answered with the observation above. A deconstructive reading of this extract focuses on the message and the way this message is syntactically and semantically formulated. Patty repeats the verb "enfrentar" (facing) several times connecting it to different circumstances of culture (cultura), language (idioma) and society (sociedad). These are described by Patty as barriers that she needs to overcome as "una persona de America" (a person from America). She emphasises that the particular difficulty arises when the person from America "no tiene papeles" (does not have papers). This person faces the situation of needing to cope with a new cultural setting and the process of being made illegal as well as "muchas veces" (very often) not encountering solidarity, a helping hand "no se encuentra con una mano solidaria". [18]

Analysing this extract discursively we become aware that this enunciation refers to a variety of discourses, such as the discourse of cultural difference, emphasising the collision of cultures through the reiteration of the adjectives "different", "new" and "shocking" (una cultura diferente, un idioma diferente, sociedad nueva, es muy chocante). This, in turn, is related to a migration discourse through the use of the "wall" (muro) metaphor but also the attribute "sin papeles" (without papers). Finally, these two discursive references are connected to a discourse of solidarity by mentioning a "hand held out in solidarity" (una mano solidaria) and the verbs "prepare" and "help" (dispuesto a ayudarlas—prepared to help them). The "speaking subject" is configured in this enunciation at the juncture of these different discourses, thus articulating a subject position that emerges out of the discursive field of migration, human rights and citizenship. [19]

Moreover, on an interactional level, this extract emerges as an answer to my introduction as a "daughter of Spanish migrant workers in Germany". As such this statement confronts Patty's socio-political position with my own, indicating and revealing our different social and geo-political positionalities. Unravelling the relationship of researcher and research participant, this extract focuses on the aporetic relationship on which our encounter is based. Thus, I, as a White European citizen with a Spanish passport and an academic authorised to carry out research under ethical terms, am confronted here with my situation of privilege16). Profound lines of social divisions due to our unequal local and global positionalities marked this process of communication and encounter. It is in this context that the concept of solidarity is discussed. This confrontation of different geo-political and social positionalities is not just inscribed in an asymmetrical research relationship, but also in an aporetic relationship. This encounter is marked by an intensity expressed through the use of language, but not fully covered by it. Patty is talking about herself in the second person singular as "tu", suggesting that I imagine myself in her situation. She also expresses herself by the use of adjectives such as "sola" (alone), "differente" (different), "nueva" (new), "chocante" (shocking), "duro" (hard), expressions such as "muro gigante" (big wall) and "no hay nadie" (there is no one), demonstrating her despair and abandonment. In our encounter sensations are exchanged that are not captured by words. It is the site of affect that is present in this encounter, showing us the limit of language. [20]

4. Encountering Affect

To understand the relationship between feeIing, emotion and affect Eric SHOUSE (2005) suggests differentiating between feeIing as a personal articulation, emotions as collectively shared feeling and affect as prepersonal. In reference to Brian MASSUMI (1987, 2002) SHOUSE defines affect as a "prepersonal feeling". Affect is an expression of intensity, which is not mediated through language. It is created spontaneously in and through a situation in which we are moved by the coming together of different sensations. This feeling is unsorted and unstructured; it is a diffuse feeling which is not yet caught in language. Affect is thus "situational", while emotions are "contextual" (MASSUMI, 2002) as they are discursively embedded. Affect as MASSUMI defines it is an abstract term, which cannot be fully realised in language. It is always prior to and/or outside of consciousness (MASSUMI, 2002). Thus the body has its own experience of sensation and intensity that is not always reflected in language as it "doesn't just absorb pulses or discrete stimulations; it unfolds contexts ..." (MASSUMI, 2002, p.30). Following these lines we could share SHOUSE's opinion of affect as a non-verbalised identifiable feeling, the space of the merely non-discursive. We could say that affects are embodied as unwritten sensations and intensities. "Affect is a non-conscious experience of intensity; it is a moment of unformed and unstructured potential" (SHOUSE, 2005). [21]

It is an intensity that we will encounter in the extracts of the employees and employers. It is what is not said, but felt. Affect is the energy that binds different situations together energetically, or as Sara AHMED (2004) suggests, through affect, boundaries are expressed. Different geo-political subject-positions are formulated within a framework of inequality. Georgina shows how affect, in a situation in which language cannot be used, is the only site of encounter. On her arrival in Berlin she encounters the following situation:

"When I arrived, I just knew how to say a few things, the most important things, but when I got lost, ay! Oh God, then all the German that I knew came out, the little that I knew. The person who was supposed to pick me up came very late, then they called me through the speakers and told me that I needed to wait and I thought, no I will go, as I had the address I went to the house, because I won't stay waiting in the airport all day long. So I took the metro and in the end I got lost. I called the 'señora' (houseowner/employer) and she told me that she had left the key under the doormat, and then I asked an employer of the metro with the little German I knew, I almost knew nothing. The man shows me the map, he told me that one could read it there. Just by the gestures he was making I realized what he wanted to tell me, then he explained to me how to fit into the map, still I haven't forgotten it. Then I arrived in the householder's house. Asking, asking that's the way I arrived"17) (Georgina, 40-51; transl. EGR). [22]

The question of language defines the communication and the negotiations in the everyday and in particular in the private households where the research participants work as paid care and domestic workers. In this excerpt Georgina repeats the fact that her German was very poor, a fact that could have been compromising for her in a situation where she was left by herself in the airport. We could assume that Georgina arrived with a tourist visa, but her reference to the "señora" (houseowner/employer) connotes a work relationship rather than a tourist visit. The "señora" is the owner of the house, and also in a servant relationship "señora" connotes the employer. It is the antonym to "Ia sirvienta" (the servant). This explains what might be omitted in this excerpt. Listening to this account during the conversation, I was irritated by the fact that Georgina decided to travel by herself in an unknown city. Why, I wondered, didn't she just wait for the "señora" to pick her up? However, situating this extract within the discursive context of a precarious legal framework—that of a "tourist visa", the work relationship is mentioned at the margins through the sign "señora", but not spelt out. Nonetheless, this moment structured the random encounter between the metro warden and Georgina. The encounter with the metro warden is determined by the need to communicate, as Georgina is looking for the house she is supposed to stay in: "yo solamente con los gestos que hacia me daba cuenta que era lo que me queria expresar" (trans.: "According to the gestures he was doing I realised what he liked to tell me"). Although this communication happens, the encounter is also marked by Georgina's need to blend in, to remain unnoticed due to her legal status. It is in the encounter between Georgina and the metro warden that affect becomes an effect, a transmission of intensity in which communication happens, even though the conditions for communication are not given. Thus Georgina almost does not speak German "con lo poco que sabia de alemán, no sabIa casi nada" (trans.: "with the little German that I knew, I almost didn't know any") and the metro warden was not aware that Georgina couldn't understand him: "El señor me indica el plano, me dijo que allí se podia leer (trans.: "The Mr. shows me the plan and told me that one could read it there"). Communication occurs as an effect of a transmission of affect produced in this situation. The transmission of affect—affection—is articulated in the unintended encounter between Georgina and the warden, in which an intensity derives that is not intended, but in which a solid expression is formed. [23]

This example shows us that the moment of non-discursive relationship is not reflected in language, but the effect of it can be deconstructively read and discursively contextualised. This effect is produced through the experiential dimension of affect encountered in a heterogeneous space ruled by aporetic relationships of power and representation. "Affect" discloses the limits of language and discourse by referring to a structure of feelings in which "signification without meaning" is created (HALL, 1997). Affect is the sphere of the precognitive. However, the encounter between individuals and collective bodies is channelled through affect, as Sara AHMED (2004) shows in her analysis of fear. Fear as an expression of affect circulates between bodies.

"In this sense, fear works as an affective economy, despite how it seems directed toward an object. Fear does not reside in a particular object or sign, and it is this lack of residence that allows fear to slide across signs, and between bodies" (AHMED, 2004, p.127). [24]

In her analysis of fear AHMED emphasises the circulation of affect—the transmission of affect, that is to say, the effect of affect on the body and the embodiment of affect. We could also suspect that what is driving Georgina in the situation above is fear; fear of being caught and deported by the police or getting lost in an unknown city. We also encounter this moment of affection in the intimacy of the private households and the encounter between employers and employees. [25]

5. Affection and Intimacy

"AFFECT/AFFECTION. Neither word denotes a personal feeling (sentiment in Deleuze and Guattari). L'affect (Spinoza's affectus) is an ability to affect and be affected. It is a prepersonal intensity corresponding to the passage from one experiential state of the body to another and implying an augmentation or diminution in that body's capacity to act. L'affection (Spinoza's affection) is each such state considered as an encounter between the affected body and a second, affecting, body ..." (MASSUMI 1988, p.xvi).

Brian MASSUMI, who is the English translator of DELEUZE and GUATTARI's "A thousand plateaus" (1988), develops this definition in the preface to "A thousand plateaus". DELEUZE and GUATTARI (via NIETZSCHE and BERGSON) emphasise in "A thousand plateaus" that affect is prepersonal. It is unformed and unstructured but entirely containable in knowledge and analysable in effect, as affect (MASSUMI, 1996, p.237). With the term affect MASSUMI tries to define a body beyond language as a chain of reactions that occurs without a process of reflexion. In this sense, affect precedes will and consciousness (MASSUMI, 2002, p.29). It is almost an organic reaction, situating us in the deep materiality of unsorted, yet related things, people and impulses in flux. This is a process that MASSUMI describes through his concept of "affection". The transmission of affect means that we are not self-contained in terms of our energies. The question of transmission of affect, affection, will help us to understand the relationship between employers and employees in the private households. This relationship is marked by a lack of communication, but also by an extensive and intense exchange of sensations. These sensations are not articulated as emotions as they cannot be expressed through language. It seems the language is not able to capture the unstructured instance of these sensations. Nonetheless, these sensations regulate the encounter between employers and employees, affecting and tracing their "unintended" affective bonds as Elena's excerpt below demonstrates. In this excerpt she tells us about the "uninhabited" apartment that she cleans.

"[...] and above all, to clean this apartment for someone who is almost never there, so therefore this, this apartment was simply also lifeless or unlived and that often made me mad. This, this huge apartment for one person. Therefore, I mean' four rooms for one person, who—is there maybe for two or three hours in the day, if at all [...]. And that is simply, therefore, so,'n, so 'n debauched, that often means, obviously means that above 'a certain monthly income that there is nothing more left or the path is lost, that others live with three persons in two rooms, that is so" (Elena, 209-219). [26]

Elena's extract tells us about the economic and social differences that she observes in this single household in comparison to "others" who "live with three people in two rooms". The owner of this household instead has "four rooms for one person". The counting of rooms and people shows the context in which the encounters between employers and employees take place. It also shows the relationship between the house and its inhabitants. Elena tells us that the owner of the house, a single man, is "almost never there", only "for two or three hours in the day". It seems that only Elena is living in this house. The encounter between Elena and the owner of this "huge apartment" is based on class differences and distribution of wealth. This is the first level of meaning that we encounter in this extract, but besides the contextual description of the setting, Elena is giving us a situational one, one that is partly described through words such as "lifeless", "unlived", "mad", "debauched". All these adjectives denote a chain of emotions that describe the atmosphere of the apartment. These adjectives also connote the energetic flux of the apartment which affects Elena. She is left guessing what cleaning this "empty apartment" is all about. Her exclamations "so, 'n, so 'n (...) that is' so" express an intensity that is not conceptually expressed, but indicated through the syntactic gaps. This illustrates the relationship between space and "speaking subject" as a paid domestic and care worker. The space which is empty but is being animated through Elena's cleaning and care work becomes the location in which "closeness" as an "unintended affective bond" is experienced. As she says:

"But however, so these things to unpack them all and clean them, that was it for me, for me it was actually a closeness to a person who I actually do not know and who can actually do it himself, too CLOSE [...] and I couldn't understand how somebody—so close yeah, allows someone to come, without KNOWING the person and without actually needing it. I find that totally ABSURD, that is this activity that is part of it" (Elena, 98-105). [27]

Connecting this excerpt to the preceding one on "lifeless" environment, allows us to suggest a chain of sensations which describes the energies of isolation and intimacy that some of the domestic and care workers encountered in the households in which they work. They are hired to clean empty apartments. This employment introduces them into the intimacy of a household, although they remain a foreigner in a space, as Elena says, where they are not known ("without KNOWING the person"). Elena describes the situation as "absurd". This situation seems absurd to her as her skills are not really required because the person to be cared for is absent and instead, she is surrounded by inanimate things. What is interesting in this extract is the comment on "closeness", expressed by rupture "so=e close, yeah". The moment of "closeness" is underlined by two contradictory expressions of intimacy and alienation. The employer's need for a domestic and care worker, we could assume, might lie in the need to animate a space that seems to be uninhabited. The negotiations that take place in private households are not just about how to do the domestic or care work, the domestic worker also seems to contribute to the production of "life". [28]

The research participants made us think about the role of intimacy in care and domestic work. Although their relationship to their employers is professional, their subjective and affective capacities and competency are demanded and consumed. Domestic and care work constitute affective work and with each stroke of the duster, cooked meal, washing-machine load, done bed and picked up child; an enormous intensity of life is invested and produced. We could conceptualise this production of "life" using Antonio NEGRI's development of FOUCAULT's concept of "biopower" and "biopolitics" (2000a, 2003, 2004). For him:

"One must be clear about the concept of biopolitics. It literally means the intertwining of power and life. The fact that power has chosen to place its imprint upon life itself, to make life its privileged surface of inscription, is not new: it is what Foucault called 'biopower' (...) But resistance to 'biopower' exists. To say that life resists power means that it affirms its own power, which is to say its capacity for creation, invention, production, subjectivation. This is what we call 'biopolitica’: the resistance of life to power, from within—inside this power, which has besieged life" (NEGRI 2003, p.64). [29]

NEGRI relates to the Greek term bios to express the fusion between life and work. The excerpts of the care and domestic workers illustrate the role of affect, as intense life energy, played out in the everyday encounters between the employers and the employees. This encounter cannot just be defined through the classical listing of different domestic and care tasks. It is more this coming together of the doing itself in relation to the space, which spells out affect. Furthermore, it is the encounter, the relationship, the transmission of non-verbalised emotions that shapes bodies and delineates boundaries and the borders between them. The relationship of the bodies through affect is one of connection, but without a reflexive communication process. Affect goes beyond the immediate meaning of things. In the interviews with employers and employees "affect" works as silenced bond, as an energy that binds these two "bodies" together. Two "bodies" that encountered themselves in one space, the private households, but are structured by the immediacy of social divisions that are usually played out in separated spaces. These spaces are ruled by subtle segregation mediated through the effects of migration laws and racist mechanisms of inclusions and exclusions on different social levels such as health, education, housing and work. These different realities meet in the private households. [30]

6. Divided Spaces

As Bridget ANDERSON (2000) and PRECARIAS A LA DERIVA (2004) note, domestic and care work are sites where social relationships are reproduced. In relation to this observation I argue here that this relationship is structured by moments of intimacy and affect. Nonetheless, a closer look at the interviews with the employers in the majority professional women, reveals another preoccupation: work-life balance18). Karin, who lives in Hamburg has two children and works on the management level of a media company, told us that:

"there=e is simply a point in time when one asks oneself=e ah=e do I still feel like cleaning the toilet=e on a Sunday evening at around eleven and to make the bed, what I CAN naturally do but I don't feel like it anymore and I gave it up


K: and=e ehm I think that it is simply that each one must decide for himself how he places the balance, what naturally then=e and =e, what I find very important is that ah DOMESTIC work, whether it is work done by housewives or DOMESTIC work done by professional women is completely irrelevant or whether by domestic workers, I say all the time

I:hm, hm

K: In inverted commas, it is irrelevant=e because it is ah very important work that must be done, so, there—we decided at some point in time because (takes a deep breath) it is important sometimes for one's OWN battery to say, okay I drink for a half an hour,

I: mhm

K: a cup of tea and don't do these things"19) (Karin, 49-69; transl. EGR). [31]

In Karin's extract we encounter one of the reasons why professional households opt for employing a domestic and care worker. The reason is mentioned straight away as being "for one's OWN battery", "l drink for a half an hour, ... a cup of tea and don't do these things". The "things", "cleaning", "making the bed" or "DOMESTIC work", become tasks that are postponed until late at night or the weekend. Karin's argument that she cannot do this work as she needs to recharge her batteries is understandable. What is interesting in this excerpt is that the woman that will be hired to do this work is added at the end of the sentence "DOMESTIC work, whether is done by housewives or DOMESTIC work done by professional women is completely irrelevant or whether by domestic workers". The sentence is syntactically completed after "irrelevant"; the addition of the domestic worker is a syntactically disconnected addition. The domestic worker becomes one of a series of women that could do domestic work, and factually the one that is doing so. The figure of the "domestic worker" functions as a reminder of a task that is considered by the speaker as "important", but who does it seems to be "irrelevant". As we have seen in the above extracts from domestic and care workers, for those who do it, who does the work is not "irrelevant". They are spending their lives in these households and sharing an intimacy and privacy that they have not chosen, but need to face professionally. The "domestic worker" is in fact the "other woman" in the series of "women" that do housework. What is left out in this excerpt are the other members in the household who could do it: husband, partner and children. The comment that "each one must decide for himself, how he places the balance" seems to introduce the idea of options, options that are linked to a masculine figure "he". We could assume that this is a coincidence and that the "he" stands for a universal position including men and women. [32]

Nonetheless, on the other side of work-life balance we have a group of women who need to negotiate their time around domestic and care work. A collective demand surfaces, marked here through the "we" in the comment "we decided at some point in time", that correlates to a new "global division of work" at the local level, in which the recruitment of a "cheap labour force" is made available for couples in the middle-income band. The hired person is regularly a migrant woman, marked by new migration and border regimes, in which no measures related to "work-life balance or reconciliation", are at stake. Instead, they experience a restriction of family life by encountering migration policies that hinder the family reunification of children older then twelve and the crudity of "cleaning the toilet" as Carmen tells us:

"The worst for me, we could say are the toilets! (...) So, you, you see people who are really pico bello and eh, but you can forget it, so not with me, not in my home! Really! I therefore wear gloves everywhere, so rubber gloves?! (...) Because I don't know?! It could be, they are people who may be super clean, but to the outside world! But you, you know the people in the kitchen and in the toilets, therefore on the toilet?! (...) So, really! Brushes are available everywhere! Thank god we drink only tea now! (smiles) Ehm, brushes, these toilet brushes are available everywhere?! At the very least what can you do, what you can do is make it a little cleaner. But it is sprayed all over! Pee all over! The men cannot pee properly at all! Therefore ... you know?!"20) (Carmen, 319-333; transl. EGR) [33]

The implication of "cleaning the toilet" carries a dimension of intimacy for the domestic and care worker. This intimacy emerges out of their situatedness, Carmen emphasises this when she explains "But you, you know the people in the kitchen and in the toilets". Meanwhile, for the employer the possibility of getting the toilet cleaned by another person means having "quality time"—time for drinking tea. For the domestic and care worker the "tea" has a different connotation. In the juxtaposition of these two excerpts, we see an intensity emerging pointing to a tension between these two perceptions occurring in one household. The different sensations are transmitted here in Karin's "cup of tea" and Carmen's "brushes available everywhere". This is the framework in which these two groups of women, the employers and the employees are located. The employers articulate their awareness around time issues regarding domestic work, while the employees talk about work and life conditions, using emphatic language to show their distress. These two groups of women do not regularly share a common group of friends or meet in their professional or leisure time. They frequent divided spaces, spaces marked by class differences and by the devices produced through racist mechanisms of differentiation and through migration policies. In the private household where they meet however, they are even complicit in unprecedented instances of intimacy, sharing an everyday life. [34]

Thinking along these lines, we are led to consider private households in terms of FOUCAULT's heterotopia. In his essay "Different spaces", FOUCAULT (1984) notes that the twentieth century is marked by the paradox of simultaneous and juxtaposed places interwoven in a network of relations, established by elements of discontinuity and opposition as well as lines of demarcation of "inside" and "outside". [35]

7. Conclusion: Care and Domestic Work—An affective heterotopia

In private household we see a recreation of the "inside": family members consider the households as their retreat. The care and domestic workers represent an "outside", and when they are in the house they are often treated as nonexistent, as Lola told us:

"then in this invisibility, to feel within it totally invisible and also completely WORTHLESS because there … is no thank you, no please, no ((pifi))" (Lola, 56-57). [36]

Domestic and care work is experienced by the workers as invisible work. Although they are doing this work, no one seems to notice it. The private household is in this sense a heterotopia embracing a space of fiction and reality. The private household carries the promise of being an oasis of peace and harmony, a little Island for rest and regeneration. It is true that these fantasies are nurtured and at the same time contested by relationships within these private households. Although members of private households, in particular the ones we interviewed, describe the private household as a family haven, it very often is a hell. As FOUCAULT notes in regard to the continuation of "sacred spaces" in advanced capitalism:

"(...) our life is still dominated by a certain number of oppositions that cannot be tampered with, that institutions and practices have not ventured to change—oppositions we take for granted, for example between private space and public space, between the family space and social space, between cultural space and useful space, between the space of leisure activities and the space of work" (FOUCAULT, 2000e, p.177). [37]

We might consider the private household a space in FOUCAULT's words "still controlled by an unspoken sacralization" (ibid).

"The space in which we are living, by which we are drawn outside ourselves, in which, as a matter of fact, the erosion of our life, our time, and our history takes place, this space that eats and scrapes away at us, is also a heterogenous space in itself. In other words, we do not live in a kind of void, within which individuals and things might be located. We do not live in a void that would be tinged with shimmering colors, we live inside an ensemble of relations that define emplacements that are irreducible to each other and absolutely nonsuperposable" (FOUCAULT, 2000e, pp.177-178). [38]

Space is thus not an empty entity: it "is laden with quality" and "haunted by fantasy". In relation to this quality of space FOUCAULT introduces the concept of "heterotopia" as a delimitation of "utopia", which he considers a space structured merely by the unreal. Instead "heterotopia" is a real place. They

"are sorts of actually realized utopias in which the real emplacements, all the other real emplacements that can be found within the culture are, at the same time, represented, contested and reversed, sorts of places that are outside all places, although they are actually localizable" (FOUCAULT 2000e, p.178). [39]

FOUCAULT differentiates between "crisis heterotopias", defining spaces that are reserved for individuals in a state of crisis, and "heterotopias of deviance", spaces for people whose behaviour is deviant with respect to the mean or the required norm. The private household is neither a "crisis heterotopia" nor a "heterotopia of deviance", but it is a heterotopia in which several incompatible emplacements are juxtaposed in a single space. In the case of the place of domestic and care work, this is given by the opposed spaces that employers as citizens and employees as non-citizens inhabit. Different realities and fantasies of time collide in the private household. The private household as a heterotopia carries the promise of a non-capitalist time experience, at the same time as it is embedded in extensive and intensive capitalist accumulation. It can be classified according to FOUCAULT (2000e) as a heterotopia embraced by heterochronias, the different accumulation of time of discontinuous spaces—the space of the home and the space of paid work—in one place. The private household is also a space in which a specific system of opening and closing operates. One can enter this place regularly only with permission and after a certain number of gestures have been performed. In the case of the domestic and care worker this principle is deactivated to a certain point, as her service is needed. Nonetheless, in her everyday life in the private household she encounters numerous rituals of entry that she needs to perform in order to enter into the intimacy of the household members, although she is a constant, silent observer of this intimacy. We could say that due to the need for a cleaner or a carer, the private middle-class White household becomes open to a social group to which these households are generally closed. The private household is a space structured by emotional relationships and affective bonds. It is a space in which fantasy, desire and conflict are articulated. It is the space in which two women encounter themselves as two women living in divided spaces, ruled by different time-scales and by different effects of global capitalism and the logic of war. In their encounter these two women articulate and negotiate their desires, needs and moments of identification and dis-identification. [40]

Summing up, we can conclude that throughout processes of production, appropriation and distribution, cultural and social practices are organised and mediated through language, reflecting their discursive context and the affective gaps which are not encapsulated by language, but felt between the lines and the gaps of the intensity of words and sentences. To unravel these processes we need a methodology that dismantles the logic of the text through deconstructive reading whilst at the same time delineating the discursive genealogies in which a "subject speaks". Furthermore, this methodology works through discourse analysis and postcolonial critique. Nevertheless, in order to consider the positionalities represented in the extracts as effects of complex discursive structures, but also affective bonds, we need to go a step beyond the linearity of the narrative to unleash the movement in the text. Such a reading demands thinking along the lines of assemblage and affect. It is in this complexity of discourses, utterances and sensations that the representation and construction as well as the constitution of identities along the lines of gender, sexuality, "race", ethnicity, disability and class are renegotiated. The axes of identity are thus connected to cultural and economic activity by focusing on the embeddedness of lines of differentiation in everyday cultural encounters. Two moments appear here as relevant for the analysis. On the one side the "(...) bodily intensity of performing surplus labour and on the other the affective intensity associated with exploitation" (GIBBON-GRAHAM, 2000, p.7). It is here that the field of domestic and care work becomes a paradigmatic example, a cipher for the "precariousness of work-life balance", marking zones of contact; spaces of encounter structured by cultural practices of difference and social hierarchical arrangements. It is also a cipher for understanding the heterotopia of "unprecedented intimacy" in which affective bonds are created between bodies that are not supposed to share the same space. This other side of the encounters in the everyday of the private household has been unravelled through a deconstructive and discursive reading of the interview excerpts. This attempt to engage with the limits of language and representation shows that we can read affect in the text as an effect of paradoxical intimacy. [41]


I would like to thank the women who contributed to my study and Shirley TATE.


1) The term "social embodiment" refers here to social positionalities produced through a process of subjection and subjectivation on the basis of a migration, gender and sexuality regime. I have analysed this process in detail in my book "Intellektuelle Migrantinnen—Subjektivitäten im Zeitalter von Globalisierung" (GUTIERREZ RODRIGUEZ, 1999). <back>

2) The interviews and conversations in Germany were conducted by a research team of which Macarena GONZALEZ ULLOA, Efthimia PANAGIOTIDIS, Nina SCHULTZ and I were members. <back>

3) Our interview partners were all women, a fact that we had not planned as such, as we addressed members of the households in general. <back>

4) The interviews with the German research participants were conducted by Macarena GONZALEZ ULLOA, Efthimia PANAGIOTIDIS, Nina SCHULTZ and I. They were conducted in German, Spanish and English. The German and Spanish quotes have been translated into English for this article. <back>

5) As DELEUZE and GUATTARI note in "A thousand plateaus" "the line of flight or deterritorialization that carries away all of the assemblages but also undergoes all kinds of reterritorializations and redundancies (…)" (1987, p.98). <back>

6) SAUSSURE’s fundamental idea is that language is not an outcome of the logos and so pre-existent to the linguistic system. Rather, it is a productive system of differential values. As SAUSSURE (1985, p.166) notes: "(…) qu’on prenne le signifié ou le signifiant, la langue ne comporte ni des idées ni des sons qui préexisteraient au système linguistique, mais seulement des différences conceptuelles et des différances phoniques issues de ce système. Ce qu’il y a d’idée ou de matière phonique dans un signe importe moins que ce qu’il y a autour de lui dans les autres signes". SAUSSURE’s concept of language as a productive linguistic system created through paradigmatic (conceptual differences) and syntagmatic (phonetic differences) relationships engendered the notion of difference that Derrida is engaged in deconstructing. <back>

7) This aspect has been discussed within the German biographical research in the sense of Peter ALHEIT’s (1992) concept of "Biographizität", the meta-discursive framework in which biographies as objects of knowledge and representation evolve. "Biographical interviews" or life story interviews as Pierre BOURDIEU (1988) also notes, are set within a normative concept of linear life trajectory. Instances like birth, childhood, youth, adulthood and age structure the line of narration, setting some assumptions that correspond to a specific value system thought as universal. <back>

8) An aspect that SPIVAK (1988a) discusses in her critique of DELEUZE’s and FOUCAULT’s "decontextualised" analysis of "desire" and "resistance" in her seminal text "Can the subaltern speak?" <back>

9) Thomas ATZERT and Jost MÜLLER (2004) have discussed this aspect, connecting it to FOUCAULT’s analysis of power. In order to define the dispositifs of power FOUCAULT writes "that politics is war continued by other means" (cited in ATZERT & MÜLLER, 2004). With this statement, FOUCAULT focuses on struggles and relations of power that ATZERT and MÜLLER develop further in regard to the contemporary capitalist accumulation processes. As they note: "The contemporary imperial wars are part of the passage towards the political order of global capitalism, the sovereign order of Empire. War is neither "means" of expansion of a constituted order nor of its restructuring, war is neither roll back nor containment. War is not the continuation of politics by other means; it becomes the fundament of politics and legitimation. <back>

10) "The resurgence of the concept of bellum iustum (the "just war") leads towards an understanding of this new form of war. Today the secularised "just war" is a moment of global politics that bears its legitimation in itself. Unlike the conflicts of the second half of the 20th century, the concept of "just war" combines two elements: the legitimacy of the military apparatus as ethically grounded—think of the human rights discourse against rogue states—and the legitimacy (qua its effectiveness) of the military action to establish the desired Other and the so-called peace" (ATZERT & MÜLLER, 2004). <back>

11) Since the Treaty of Amsterdam (1999) co-operation on Asylum and Migration policies based on measures of security, control and regulation in the EU have been initiated. The implementation of interstate agreements on the levels of immigration policies and asylum policies has fostered co-operation between the legal system and the police as well as the visa system. Since 9/11 the measures of control and regulation have been intensified by the introduction of the EURODAC-agreement that compare the genetic data of refugees, the designation of new visa requirements for 130 countries, and prosecution of transport companies. <back>

12) The actual Asylum and Migration policies are characterised by a toughening of the entry conditions into the EU, acceleration of the procedures of recognition for Asylum, imprisonment of so called "illegal migrants", increase in deportations, refusal or decrease of social benefits for asylum seekers and the restriction of the possibilities of family reunification. <back>

13) The "Law for the Prevention of International Terrorism" ("Gesetz zur Bekämpfung des internationalen Terrorismus") was implemented on the 1st of January 2002. This law profoundly changed the Foreigners and Asylum policies. It permits, for example, the refusal of a Visa in cases of suspicion, it dismantled legal assistance and protection against deportation, it also introduced the registration of biometrical characteristics in the residence permit and in the provisional ID, as well as a frequent language test in the asylum trial. All these measures are put into place on the basis of the EU’s definition of Terrorism. In general, these measures contribute to the criminalisation of refugees and migrants in Europe and, in particular, in Germany. <back>

14) The names of the research participants have been anonymised. In some cases the research participants have opted to be named. The interviews were held in Spanish, English and German. For the purpose of this article I have translated the Spanish and German interviews into English. The original interview excerpts are included as footnotes. <back>

15) Original: "(…) pero tu estás aquí sola, enfrentas una cultura diferente, enfrentas un idioma también diferente, una sociedad nueva que eso para ti y para una persona de América es muy chocante ya, y mucho más si no tienes papeles, eso es un muro gigante, es muy duro y no hay nadie, no hay. Muchas veces las personas que vienen acá no se encuentran con una mano solidaria o alguien dispuesto a ayudarlas". <back>

16) It is this aspect that Gayatri C. SPIVAK discusses in her seminal essay "Can the Subaltern Speak?" (1988a). In this essay she analyses the relationship between representation and subalternity, an aspect that I have discussed elsewhere (GUTIERREZ RODRIGUEZ, 2005) and that I won’t develop further here. <back>

17) Original: "Yo cuando vine solamente sabía decir algunas cosas, lo más importante, pero cuando me perdi, ay! por Dios, allí se me salió todo el alemán que sabía, Io poquito que sabía. La persona que me tenía que recoger llegó muy tarde, entonces me Ilamaron por el altavoz y me dijeron que tenía qua esperar y yo dije no yo me voy, como tenía Ia dirección me fui a Ia casa, porque no me voy a quedar en el aeropuerto a esperar allí todo el día, entonces agarré un U-Bahn y terminé perdiéndome. Llamé otra vez a Ia señora y me dijo que habia dejado Ia llave debajo del tapiz, clespués a un empleado de la U-Bahn Ie pregunté, con lo poco que sabía de alemán, no sabía casi nada. El señor me indica el pIano, me dijo que allí se podia leer, yo solamente con los gestos que hacia me daba cuenta que era lo que me queria expresar, entonces me explicaba come tenía que ocupar lo del mapa que hasta ahora no so me olvida, después llegué a Ia casa de Ia señora, preguntando, preguntando llegué". <back>

18) Since the end of the 1990s the European Union and its member states have started to promote gender mainstreaming programmes focusing particularly on work-life balance. ‘Work-life balance programmes’ are sought as an institutional attempt to cope with the imbalance that mainly professional woman experience keeping care and housework going, whilst pursuing their profession’s demands and career needs. As our comparative study (Spain, Austria, Germany and the UK) shows the State work- life balance programmes dissolved very often in well-being rhetoric, showing little attempt to provide institutional measures for collectively organising care and domestic work. <back>

19) Original: "es=e gibt einfach irgndwann so `n Punkt wo man sich fragt=e ah=e hab ich noch Lust Sonntag Abend um elf das Klo=e zu putzn und das Bad zu mach`n, was ich natürlich mach`n KANN oder da hab ich eben keine Lust mehr dazu, geb ich dass ab

I: mhm

K: und=e ehm ich denke dass is einfach, dass muß jeder für sich selber entscheidn, wie er da die Gewichtung legt, was natürlich nun=e und =e, was ich ganz wichtig finde is, dass ah HAUSHALTSarbeit, ob das nun von Hausfraun Arbeit is oder HAUSHALTSarbeit von arbeitend`n Fraun völlich egal oder von Putzfraun sag ich immer

I:hm, hm

K: in Anführungszeichen is dabei ziemlich egal=e weil es is ah ne total wichtige Arbeit die gemacht werden muß, so, da—ha`m wir uns irgndwann dafür entschiedn, weil es (holt tief Luft) für die EIGENE Batterie machmal wichtiger is zu sagn, okay ich trink ne halbe Stunde

I: mhm

K: ne Tasse Tee und mach eben diese Sachn nicht". <back>

20) Original: "Das Schlimmste für mich könnte wir sagen, das sind die Toiletten! (...) Also, du, du siehst Leute die sind wirklich so pico bello und eh, aber das kannst du vergessen, also nicht bei mir, nicht bei mir zu Hause! Wirklich! Also ich, ich hab überall Handschuhe, also Gummihandschuhe, ne?! (...) Weil ich weiß nicht?! Könnte sein, die sind Leute, die sind vielleicht super sauber, aber von außen! Aber du, du kennst die Leute in die Küche und in die Toiletten, also auf die Toiletten?! (...) Also wirklich! Es gibt überall BÜRSTEN! Gott sei Dank trinken wir nur Tee jetzt! ((lachen)) Ehm, es gibt überall Bürsten, diese Toilettenbürsten, ne?! Mindestens was kannst du machen, machen kannst ist dies ein bißchen sauber machen. Aber da ist überall gespritzt! Pipi überall! Die Männer können überhaupt nicht in Ordnung Pipi machen! Also ... weißt, Du?!" <back>


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Encarnación GUTÍERREZ RODRÍGUEZ is Senior Lecturer in Transcultural Studies in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures at the University of Manchester. She has widely published on postcoloniality and Europe, migration and subjectivity, life stories and poststructuralist approaches, queer diasporas, work and culture, gender and ethnicity. She is currently leading the Migration and Diaspora Cultural Studies Network, funded by the AHRC.


Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodriguez

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures
University of Manchester
Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

Tel.: +44 (0) 161 275 8047



Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación (2007). Reading Affect—On the Heterotopian Spaces of Care and Domestic Work in Private Households [41 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8(2), Art. 11,