The Psychological Meaning of Home for the Migrant Live-in Domestic Workers: Istanbul


ABSTRACT Home is a significant domain that affects a person's well-being and psychology. The migration process may lead to psychological pathologies depending on many social-environmental variables, as social segregation, being subject to bias, and moving away from the family. The purpose of this study is to reveal the psychological meaning of home space as the result of interviews made with migrant live-in domestic worker women (MDWW) who spend all their time working in another individual's home in a different cultural environment. In-depth semi-structured interviews (n= 23) and three focus group meetings were held in Istanbul. The ethnographic research approach was used to seek the meaning of home space based on feelings, perceptions, daily practices, and traumas. Qualitative data, processed within the thematic analysis method, and the participants' discourse were represented under four themes: morale, statement, loyalty, associations. It was found that MDWW who work and live in a different cultural environment still consider as home their family house in Turkmenistan. Although some MDWW feel as part of the families they work for, they cannot perceive the employer's house as a home due to the lack of homemaking practices. It is considered that the lack of homemaking practices result in loss of sense of belonging, attachment problems, stress, and feeling of insecurity, leading to traumas in MDWW.