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Local and transnational care relations: relatedness and family practice among au pairs in Denmark


Global Networks

Published online on


An increasing number of young women from the Global South have become au pairs in the Global North since the turn of the millennium. Through ethnographic analysis of three cases of au pairing in Denmark, involving Filipina and Caribbean women, this article discusses the nature of the local as well as transnational family relations in which these women are embedded as au pairs, and the opportunities and restraints that they present. We use anthropological theory to conceptualize family and kinship in terms of notions and practices of relatedness. This offers a useful framework for elucidating the different moral and contractual obligations and expectations associated with these varying family relations, the power asymmetries with which they are linked, and the agency that the au pairs display as they seek to position themselves in the most favourable way in relation to the multi‐directional ties in which they are involved.