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``I could put this house on fire.'' The everyday resistance of Filipina domestics in Canada




Rita Parikh


Filipina migrant domestics are among the most exploited and vulnerable workers in Canadian society today. The fear of deportation coupled with their lack of citizenship rights have meant that they do not often overtly or collectively confront their oppressors. This study argues that where open, collective defiance is neither realistic nor practical, resistance will take on alternative, more subtle forms. While these forms are often non-dramatic, highly routine, and generally ambiguous, they serve, nonetheless, as the most logical and effective means through which the dominated make their claims. Focusing on the stories of 11 migrant women offers a privileged perspective from which the innovative and diverse nature of that resistance can be revealed. This analysis demonstrates that through these discrete acts the women navigate an intricate web of power relations, pushing forward their demands and working the system to their advantage. In the end, it maintains that through such resistance, these women struggle not only to shape their daily environments, but also to challenge the dominant ideology and to effect broader social change.

Number of pages



Carleton University (Canada)

Academic department

Political Sciences - International Affairs



Place published


File Attachments


Economic sectors

Occupations in services - Domestic work

Content types

Policy analysis and Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

(Im)migrants workers, Policymakers, Journalists, Public awareness, Researchers, Unions, and NGOs/community groups/solidarity networks

Geographical focuses

Philippines, Vietnam, and National relevance

Spheres of activity

Anthropology, Law, and Political science