Ongoing Research Streams

July 2, 2016

Negotiating Race, Work & Family: Cape Verdean Home Care Workers in Lisbon, Portugal

Discourses around the reconciliation of work and family life in Portugal have, on the one hand, led to comparatively less stringent migration policies when compared to other European contexts such as Germany or France. Yet, this discourse constructs care workers as a solution to the care deficit and only marginally as rights-holders. My dissertation ethnography centers on the experiences of post-colonial migrant Black women that perform paid and unpaid care work for their families and non-relatives in Lisbon, Portugal, at a time of economic crisis, care deficit, and increased anti-immigrant sentiment. This dissertation asks:

  1. What brings Cape Verdean women to work in elderly care services in Lisbon, Portugal?
  2. What are the dimensions of the work that Cape Verdean workers perform on a daily basis and how do they make sense of their work?
  3. How do home care workers negotiate their complex family and work responsibilities?
  4. How does race and racism shape Cape Verdean workers’ experiences in Portugal?

Social Consequence of a Multiracial and Interracial Status

My second stream of research centers on the reproduction and production of social boundaries around populations that are most commonly described as challenging categorical binaries, such as the multiracial and interracial U.S. population. In my first-authored ASR article, Positioning Multiraciality in Cyberspace, my colleagues Dr. Ken-Hou Lin (UT-Austin),  Dr. Jennifer Lundquist (UMass-Amherst), and I unravel the complexities surrounding the mixed-race label by focusing on interactions between self-identified monoracial and White/non-White multiracial heterosexual online daters on a mainstream dating website. Our research uses interactional data to test the social consequences of a White/minority multiracial status. Using 2003-2010 data from one of the largest dating websites in the United States, we examined nearly 6.7 million initial messages sent between heterosexual women and men and assessed whether White, Asian, Black and Latino single-race identified daters were less likely, equally likely, or more likely to respond to initial messages sent from Black-White, Asian-White and Latino-White multiracial daters compared to messages from their same-race in-groups.

Given the continued residential segregation of ethnic minorities from whites and increasing interracial union formation in the United States, I also examine the social consequence of an interracial status in the context of access to quality neighborhoods. In our manuscript under review, Dr. David Cort (UMass-Amherst) and I use a case-study approach to focus on the locational attainment of interracially partnered individuals in Los Angeles County using data from the Census and the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey.  In an ongoing collaborative project with colleague Mahala Stewart (UMass-Amherst), I also use qualitative methods to assess the social mechanisms that shape interracial partnered couples’ housing choices in a major U.S metropolitan area in the North East. We ask:

  1. How do interracial couples with children make decisions on where to live?
  2. What types of racialized neighborhood logics do interracial parents adhere to, if at all?
  3. How does gender, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status shape or constrain interracial couples’ neighborhood decisions?