Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Production and Reproduction in Waged Domestic Labour Processes: A Case Study of Housekeeping Services Franchises in Southern Ontario

Document type Thesis
Author Moss, Jane Pamela
Degree Ph.D., Geography
Publisher McMaster University; Hamilton, Ont.
Date 1993
Pages xiii, 362 pages


This thesis is a study of the commodification of domestic labour in a particular type of domestic labour firm, housekeeping services franchises, in southern Ontario. Specifically, I investigate the labour-related experiences of the women employed in these franchises. There are two goals: (1) to draw out, describe, and analyse the relations and processes within which women engage while employed as workers in housekeeping services franchises and (2) to devise conceptual tools that can be used to refine and enhance explanations of waged domestic labour processes. I designed the project in three phases. I was employed at a housekeeping services franchise in Hamilton for three and a half months in the Spring of 1990. During the Fall of 1990 and Winter and Spring of 1991 I carried out multiple-depth conversations with 14 women employed as franchise housekeepers and ten interviews with managers/owners of franchises in southern Ontario and head office personnel. The analysis and write-up began in May 1991 and was completed in February 1993. The thesis as a report of this research can be divided into three areas, methodology, theory, and topic. Methodologically, I implement a set of feminist principles drawn from a feminist marxist framework. Theoretically, I offer a set of abstractions which together conceptualise waged domestic labour processes in a post-1973 organisation of production relations: 'total labour', production regime, class formation, and gender formation. These concepts in part explain and in part interpret workers' experiences of waged domestic labour processes. Topically, I extend domestic labour studies to include waged domestic labour processes that generate surplus value. I focus on the transformation of the traditional relation of "mistress and maid" to that of "mistress and manager" and "manager and maid".