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Transnational Mobile Carework: Filipino Migrants, Family Intimacy, and Mobile Media

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Mobile Media and Social Intimacies in Asia

Abstract

Rapidly evolving and ubiquitous digital communication technologies have played a crucial role in shaping the quality and textures of mobile intimacy in transnational family life. In this chapter, we illuminate how transnational caregiving performed through mobile devices and online platforms engenders intimate caregiving from afar. Drawing on data from in-depth interviews, we investigate how elite Filipino migrants in the United States use mobile media and a diverse range of networked platforms to deliver and negotiate caregiving at a distance among their left-behind and aging parents in the Philippines. This study extends the care circulation approach in the context of transnational familial communication through mobile media. We critically examine the role of mobile media in facilitating mediation of everyday and routinized carework, microcoordination of care, the management of tensions and conflicts, and the performance of care. Signicantly, we propose the term ‘mobile carework’ to articulate the intimate, personalised, mobile, and negotiated care practices of transnational family members that are often shaped by the fusion of socio-cultural and technological forces. In sum, this study provides critical insights on how familial intimacies and relations are sustained through the provision of digitalised and differential care routines.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    While universities in the Philippines are not formally ranked, the University of the Philippines, the Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University are considered to be the top universities in the country. They are regularly listed in international rankings and are arguably the most difficult to get into. Their alumni associations in the Metropolitan Washington DC area are robust and active with large memberships.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Vincent Pham and Cheryll Ruth Soriano for the insightful comments and feedback they gave during their review of this chapter. We are also grateful for comments received during presentations of early versions of this chapter at the 2019 Immigration and Diaspora Studies Symposium at California State University San Marcos and the 2019 Cultural Studies Association conference at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.

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Correspondence to Cecilia S. Uy-Tioco .

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Uy-Tioco, C.S., Cabalquinto, E.C.B. (2020). Transnational Mobile Carework: Filipino Migrants, Family Intimacy, and Mobile Media. In: Cabañes, J.V.A., Uy-Tioco, C.S. (eds) Mobile Media and Social Intimacies in Asia. Mobile Communication in Asia: Local Insights, Global Implications. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1790-6_10

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