Beyond the reach of ethics and equity? Depersonalisation and dehumanisation in foreign domestic helper narratives

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18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses narratives told by foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in a Hong Kong church shelter. The narratives provide evidence that FDHs appear to be untouched by the ethics and equity of Hong Kong society. They are denied the rights that apply to other groups: the right to eat, rest and talk; they are humiliated and denigrated, and the analyses show that this treatment may affect their self-perception. The paper considers local stereotypes and ideological representations as a possible cause for legitimising the exploitation of FDHs, and it recommends that researchers become engaged in social activism in the attempt to help FDHs rewrite their narratives of repression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-59
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • depersonalisation and dehumanisation
  • foreign domestic helpers
  • moral exclusion
  • narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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