Legal Borderlands in the Global Economy of Care

Miriam Bak McKenna*, Maj Grasten

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This article examines the role of law in the global economy of care. Drawing upon decolonial theory, transnational labour law, and scholarship in International Political Economy (IPE), it develops the concept of legal borderlands and applies it to an analysis of outsourcing domestic care work to female migrant workers in the Danish au pair scheme. The article argues that law constructs liminal legal subjects with limited rights who are ambiguously situated at the intersection of different legal regimes by differentiating between public/private, work/non-work, and citizen/migrant. These differentiations displace legal subjects outside the scope of labour law protection. The case reflects broader labour market trends of increasing flexibility and deregulation, and the complex transnational interplay of law and migration policies. Legal borderlands is a transnational space of socio-legal relations sitting at the intersection of, and in frictions between legal regimes and hierarchies of oppression, including race, gender, and migrant status.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalTransnational Legal Theory
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)131-156
    Number of pages26
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: May 30, 2022.


    • Labour law
    • Care work
    • Gender
    • Borderlands
    • Socio-legal studies

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