Bordering care: the care of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong

Daisy Tam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The story of the migrant worker population has always been told as a story of host/guest relations. Story-telling, as a way of making sense of the world, is a powerful tool, but global immigration debates have increasingly painted a picture of guest workers playing the sole role of ‘taking from’ the host, evoking fear and distrust amongst the host nations. The article will begin with a series of stories, which tries to put into practice what Lawrence Grossberg calls better story-telling, both as the premise and political responsibility of Cultural Studies, so that we can imagine new possibilities and enable better politics. This lens will be applied to the case of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, where I will be exploring their paradoxical status of being both foreign and domestic, in the wider context of the intimate labour of care workers. Reading Michel Serres’ The Parasite alongside these stories, I hope to demonstrate how the theme shifts with each change of perspectives, and in doing so, problematize the give/take relation such that their interdependent relationships of hosts and guests would be foregrounded. Beginning with the etymology of the word para/sitos, the being that eats alongside, I hope to approach the issue through a consideration of more universal questions of ‘living-together’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-1007
Number of pages19
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • borders
  • Care
  • gift
  • hospitality
  • migrant domestic workers
  • parasite


Dive into the research topics of 'Bordering care: the care of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this