Cleaners @ Work

In this research project I – Dide – collaborate with Marieke van den Brink and Laura Dobusch to study the topic of ‘inclusion’ in low-wage labor organizations. Knowledge on how ethnic minorities and women are excluded from positions of authority has been well-documented. Less is known, however, about exclusion and inclusion in spaces where mostly women and ethnic minorities are employed: that is, at the bottom level of organizations in low-wage and precarious jobs. In this project, we try to grasp the processes of inclusion/exclusion in a cleaning company at the biggest Dutch airport. To get a sense of what it is like to be a cleaner, I have worked as an airplane cleaner for several months in 2017. My poems are based on notes and interviews from my ethnographic fieldwork. Some of this work is published here, here and here.

The poems are titled: Negotiating (in)visibility, Physically demanding labor and A privileged space invader


Negotiating Invisibility by DidevanEck

Physically Demanding Labour - Dide van Eck


A Privileged Space Invader by Dide van Eck

One thought on “Cleaners @ Work

  1. I was especially struck by the last poem – “A privileged space invader”. I am starting up some research where I will be looking at archived digital data, which has been scraped from online sources without the authors’ knowledge or consent. Although this is publically published material, I still am confronting issues of invading space and what kinds of space I can ethically engage with in which ways as a researcher. Especially when using relatively new types of online data and methods to collect it, I get the sense that we as a scholarly community are still in the early phases of struggling with these questions and finding the language for it. Poetry and other ways of thinking and writing about these dilemmas is necessary for us now. Thank you for inspiring me to think about this in relation to my own research!

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