Political Science Faculty Publications

Document Type



In September 2013, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers entered into force, thereby bringing domestic workers into the mainstream of labor law. This article explores how the interests of the ILO’s constituents were shaken up and reconfigured to build support for new labor protections amidst the shifting global context of deregulation. I argue that technocratic devices—charts, questionnaires, and paragraph formatting—wielded by ILO insiders contributed to this development by creating epistemic space for this new category of employees to be recognized and for consensus to be secured on appropriate labor standards for this group. I draw on a pragmatist ethnographic approach to show how the ILO's lawmaking apparatus melded technical law and grassroots activism so as to make domestic worker rights became a legal reality.

Publisher's Statement

This article was published as "Making the Machine Work: Technocratic Engineering of Rights for Domestic Workers at the International Labour Organization," Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 21 (2014), pp. 483-511. . No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For educational re-use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center (508-744-3350). For all other permissions, please visit Indiana University Press' permissions page.

Publication Date

Summer 2014

Publication Title

Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies


Indiana University Press

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