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[Dis]connected Households: Transnational Family Life in the Age of Mobile Internet

  • Earvin Charles CabalquintoEmail author
Living reference work entry

Abstract

Rapid technological innovations have revolutionized the ways in which Internet connectivity is utilized by individual users across diverse contexts. On a more specific note, the integration of the mobile Internet into a transnational household reproduces new textures and processes in sustaining familial linkages. This chapter illuminates how 21 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Melbourne, Australia, and their left-behind family members use Internet-powered mobile devices and networked communications platforms in forging and maintaining family life at a distance. It deploys the theory of mediated mobilities (Keightley and Reading, 2014) to examine how technologically mediated mobilities are engendered and undermined by structural and infrastructural forces. Drawing upon in-depth interviews, visual methods, and field note-taking, the study reveals how ubiquitous smartphones and online platforms mobilize the performance of gendered and familial roles, as well as affective surveillance. Furthermore, tactical connectivity is deployed through personalized strategies in overcoming structural and infrastructural barriers. Ultimately, the study approaches the domestication of the mobile Internet as part of a broader social context, such as the operations of a billion-dollar industry of Philippine migration. Paradoxically, Internet connectivity fuels transnational family life as well as legitimizes the retention of structural systems that produce family separation in a globalized economy. It is then by exposing the contradictory mobile experiences embodied and negotiated by transnational family members that this chapter offers a critical lens in critiquing the valorization of migration as a nationalist act in Philippine context.

Keywords

Transnational family Smartphones Skype Messaging application Mobile Internet Ubiquitous computing Tactical connectivity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Communication and Creative ArtsDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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