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Elastic carework: the cost and contradictions of mobile caregiving in a transnational household

Version 2 2024-06-13, 12:07
Version 1 2020-01-07, 00:57
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-13, 12:07 authored by EC Cabalquinto
This paper examines the pivotal role of digital communication technologies in the provision of transnational caregiving among geographically separated family members. Particularly, it examines the consequences of mobile device use in facilitating the circulation and consumption of money and consumer goods among 21 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Melbourne, Australia, and their left-behind family members in the Philippines. By deploying a mediated mobilities lens in analysing the data drawn upon in-depth interviews, photo elicitation, and field notetaking, I coin the term ‘elastic carework’ to articulate the contradictory outcomes of mobile caregiving at a distance as shaped by the entanglement of social structures and technological infrastructures. On the one hand, caregiving at a distance enables transnational family members to enact affective exchanges, fulfil obligations and cement intimate ties. On the other hand, it can also become a source of frustration and unsettling feelings, which are often dealt with personalised tactics. Ultimately, this paper provides a vantage point in re-thinking the performance, embodiment and negotiation of a family-based and networked caregiving at a distance in the age of global migration.

History

Journal

Continuum: journal of media & cultural studies

Volume

34

Pagination

133-145

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1030-4312

eISSN

1469-3666

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

1

Publisher

Taylor & Francis