This research explored the dynamics of identity transformation of migrant domestic workers based on the theoretical matrix of symbolic interactionism and intersectionality in spatial and temporal dimensions with biographical methods. In doing so, varied identities of domestic workers, not only as marginalized agents in social stratification like “servants of globalization” or as heroes for supporting home economy, have been uncovered in accordance with individuals’ diverse life experiences. Among six participants in this research, three types of identity have diverged; the type A transformed her as a activist focusing on the situation of undocumented, the type B has recognized them as domestic workers boosting the positive sense of the self in virtue of ‘significant others’, their incomes, or material attainments, the type C denies to accept the identity as a domestic worker. In the process of identity transformation, the ‘I’ negotiate between the ‘Me’ as ‘the generalized other’ and the ‘Me’ as ‘significant others’ in order to form positive identity with self-esteem in this case of migrant domestic workers. For setting up positive relationship with ‘significant others’, they employ their sense of empathy which is the core for communicating and sharing with significant others something in common.

Additional Metadata
Keywords identity, dialogue, the generalized other, significant other, migrant, domestic worker, having empathy, intersectionality, spatial and temporal, ‘me’
Thesis Advisor Siegmann, Karin Astrid
Persistent URL
Series Development Research (DRES)
Eunjung Koo. (2011, December 15). Exploring variations in identity dynamics among migrant domestic workers in the Netherlands. Development Research (DRES). Retrieved from