"Hope it’s not just the honeymoon phase" : online discursive portrayals of migrant domestic helpers

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

This paper examines online discursive representations of migrant domestic helpers (MDHs) by Hong Kong employers. Unlike existing research, which concentrates on the experiences of MDHs from their own perspectives, this study focuses on positive narrations about MDHs by their employers. Using critical discourse analysis, this study identified the discursive strategies deployed to portray MDHs in more than 2,000 Facebook posts. The findings reveal that, although the interlocutors attempted to commend the MDHs in their employ, they also emphasised their own superiority by portraying themselves as gastronomic experts, good educators, and benefactors, thus developing an ideological paradox. Another dimension of ideological ambivalence concerned the discursive conflict between their high expectations from the MDHs and their underlying belief that domestic work neither requires skills nor deserves high pay. Taken together, these factors are responsible for the entrenchment of the inferior image of MDHs in Hong Kong society, despite the persistent endeavours of activist groups to spread awareness of their exploitation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalText and Talk
Early online date4 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2021.

Keywords

  • critical discourse analysis
  • discursive strategies
  • Internet discussion forum
  • migrant domestic helpers
  • social actors

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