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Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck

Goethe University Frankfurt

Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck

Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck is group leader and Principal Investigator of collaborative and international project CareOrg ( at the Institute of Sociology and the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Gender (CGC) of Goethe University Frankfurt. She is interested in connection between migration, care and social inequalities, specializing in questions of ageing and transnational families, welfare/policy analysis and intersectionality. Care in particular has always been central for her work at academia and beyond: „CareOrg“ project (2023-2026) analyzes transnational organization of senior care in in eight countries of Central and Eastern Europe ( ) and ties in with the research done for the project “Decent Care Work” (2017–2021) (, a three-country study on international placement agencies in senior care and the transnationalization of labor markets. An earlier international project completed in 2010 on global care chains from Ukraine to Poland and from Poland to Germany investigated the change in care arrangements and gender relations and the redistribution of care work in the context of female migration. In an explorative study on “New Butlers” (2011–2012), she investigated paid domestic services from the perspective of masculinity studies.

Outside academia, she collected experience working with vulnerable groups, among others for a Polish association caring for mentally disabled people and in home care with seniors and disabled people in Germany.

She has extensive experience in teaching and organizing and leading international projects, programmes and networks promoting junior researchers. She actively contributes to the transfer of knowledge between academia and practical work through regular publications in media, cooperation with stakeholders and policy makers.


Countries Ukraine;
Topics Ageing in place; Care economy; Care inequalities; Care work and migration; Co-production in LTC; Ethics and care; Gender and care; LTC Policy; LTC Systems; LTC Workforce; Stigma and discrimination; Unpaid / informal care;
Methods Case studies; Co-production methods; Comparative policy analysis; Creative research methods; Data science and LTC research; Document analysis; Ethnography; Mixed methods; Policy analysis; Qualitative studies; Training materials;
Role Research;
Interest Groups Migration Mobility and Care Workers;
Other 1;
Key publications
  • Home Care for Sale. The transnational brokering of senior care in Europe. London: Sage Publications (2024) (with Brigitte Aulenbacher, Karin Schwiter and Helma Lutz)
  • Sozialtourismus in Deutschland? Wie reproduktive Arbeit unsichtbar wird. In: Margarete Menz/Daniel Rellstab/Miriam Stock (Eds.): Körper und Emotionen in Bewegung. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden (2024) pp. 145-169.
  • Making Migrants’ Input Invisible: Intersections of Privilege and Otherness from a multilevel perspective, Social Inclusion 10 (1) 2022
  • Postmigrantisch gelesen: Transnationalism, Gender and Care. Bielefeld: transcript, 2020 (with Katrin Huxel u.a.)
  • Die „unsichtbaren ÜbersetzerInnen“ in der transnationalen Forschung: Übersetzung als Methode. In: Helma Lutz u.a. (Ed.): Handbuch Biographieforschung. Springer VS, 2018, pp. 669-680.
  • Family Life in an Age of Migration and Mobility: Global Perspectives through the Life Course. London, New York: Palgrave, 2016 (with Majella Kilkey).
  • Fathers’ time-bind and the outsourcing of ‘male’ domestic work in Europe: the cases of UK and Germany. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 29 (2), 2013, pp. 109-121 (with Majella Kilkey).
  • Care Chains in Eastern and Central Europe: male and female domestic work at intersections of gender, class and ethnicity. In: Anna Triandafyllidou /Sabrina Marchetti (Eds.): Migrant Domestic and Care Workers in Europe: New Patterns of Circulation? Special Issue of Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 11 (4), 2013, pp. 364-383.
  • New maids – new butlers? Polish domestic workers in Germany and commodification of social reproductive work. In Brigitte Aulenbacher/Cecilia Innreiter-Moser (Eds.): Making the Difference – Diversity, Inequality, and Intersectionality in Theory and Practice. Special Issue of the Journal Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. An International Journal, 32 (6), 2013, pp. 557-574.
  • Care Workers, Care Drain and Care Chains: Reflections on Central Perceptions in the Debate about Care and Migration In: Umut Erel (Hg.): Transnational Care: Changing Formations of Citizenship, Family and Generation. Special Issue of Social Politics 19 (1), 2012, pp. 15-37 (with Helma Lutz).
  • Care, Gender and Migration: Towards a theory of transnational domestic work migration in Europe. In: Martha Worsching (Ed.): Crises and the Gendered Division of Labour in Europe Today”. Special Issue of the Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 19 (3), 2011, pp. 349-364 (with Helma Lutz).
  • Domestic and Care work at the Intersection of Welfare, Gender and Migration Regimes: Some European experiences. Special Issue for the Journal Social Policy and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010 (with Majella Kilkey and Helma Lutz).