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Synopsis

As the rich have got richer and households have become busier, demand for commoditized household services has increased. While much is known about maids and nannies, this book is distinctive in focusing on masculinized domestic services. Through two case-studies – Polish handymen in the UK and the households that employ them and Mexican jardineros in the USA - the book demonstrates how, by outsourcing, householders can mitigate the 'father time-bind' arising from tensions between new expectations for involved fathering, economic expectations regarding working hours, and a highly gendered and neo-liberal social policy regime, and shows how the consequences of this reaches beyond the households into the lives of the migrant men who work for them. Through the focus on male domestic work, the book identifies distinctly gendered understandings of domestic work and care, and shows how these influence the differential economic value of and emotional attachment to different forms of domestic work, and the gendered identities of those supplying and buying these services. In doing so, the book reveals much about the dynamic and varied understandings of masculinity.

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