I. Tożsamość wędrująca - „Obce” i ubikacje

Katarzyna Marciniak


This article considers representations of migrant women who work as domestic help and probes the abjecting logic of cleaning practices vis-a`-vis current issues of legality, illegality, immigration, transcultural difference, and rage. I survey diverse media depictions of foreign women and cleaning scenes in transnational settings: Fear and Trembling (2003), Maid in America (2004), The Ukrainian Cleaning Lady (2002), Dirt (2003), and Friends with Money (2006). I examine the formation and apprehension of female “foreign” subjectivity in relation to cleaning for others, in relation to dirt. The visual analysis discusses ways in which removing other people’s dirt by an immigrant, migrant, or a guest worker intertwines with gendered and racialized processes of social abjection. Privileging images of toilets and expressions of rage, my analysis inquires into a conceptual correspondence between garbage and the cultural renditions of foreign others; into ways in which the concept of “dirt” gets transposed onto the cleaners suggesting that those who clean dirt are themselves disposable bodies, only useful and tolerable as long as they cohere the messy lives of “legitimate” and properly “clean” natives.