|Germany's Forgotten Guestworkers: Asian Nurses and the Transnational (Re)Production of the German Nursing Force|
|In recent years, it has become fashionable to use the concepts of “global woman” or “global care chain” to explain the commodification of the reproductive labor of Third World women. And, in fact, global domestic workers have become a potent symbol of contemporary globalization and its corrosive impact the global South. However, this process was already well underway in the 1960s, long before these “women on the move” became the symbol of the unevenness of contemporary globalization. In countries like Korea and the Philippines during the 1960s and 1970s, the female labor force was mobilized in a variety of ways to support national, economic development. However, the terms of these employment arrangements were jointly determined by the governments on both ends of these chains.
My paper explores how the development policies of governments in both the Third and First Worlds led to the formation and reproduction of regimes of gender, race, and class at both the national and the global levels. By focusing on Asian female health workers who came to West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, I explore not only the experiences of these transnational migrants. The dreams of these young women were inseparably linked to the development policies of governments in both the Third and First Worlds and to regimes of gender, race, and class at both the national and the global levels. Also my paper examines how their experiences cut against the subaltern positionality into which they were forced by both their own states and racialized, gendered global labor markets. Ultimately, this paper uncovers how the experience of living within these regimes sparked resistance to the inequalities on which these regimes were based, and how these women forged new forms of transnational identity and social action in the process. This paper also examines ways in which the diverse conflicts inherent in idea of individual and national development were resolved, because this process of contention and negotiation was crucial in defining the concrete meaning of the otherwise abstract, universalistic notion of development and transnationalism.