Home economics

Domestic service and gender in urban southern Africa

By Sacha Hepburn

Home economics
Hardcover +
  • Price: £80.00
  • ISBN: 9781526162021
  • Publish Date: Aug 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £80.00
  • ISBN: 9781526162038
  • Publish Date: Aug 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6203-8
    • Published Date: August 2022
    • Series: Gender in History


    Domestic service has long been one of the largest forms of urban employment across southern Africa. Home economics provides the first comprehensive history of this essential sector in the decades following independence and the end of apartheid. Focusing on Lusaka and drawing wider comparisons, the book traces how Black workers and employers adapted existing models of domestic service as part of broader responses to changing gendered employment patterns, economic decline, and endemic poverty. It reveals how kin-based domestic service gradually displaced wage labour and how women and girl workers came to dominate kin-based and waged domestic service, with profound consequences for labour regulation and worker organising. Theoretically innovative and empirically rich, the book provides essential insights into debates about gender, work, and urban economies that are critical to understanding southern Africa's post-colonial and post-apartheid history.

    This book is relevant to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8, Decent work and economic growth


    1 Feminising domestic service
    2 Working women and childcare challenges
    3 Girl domestic workers' aspirations and frustrations
    4 Regulation, protection, and exclusion
    5 Collective organising and the limits of unionisation



    Sacha Hepburn is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London

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