The intimate labour of transnational Communication

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38 Scopus citations


This article examines the constitution of intimacy in the use of communication technology in Filipino transnational families. It argues that intimacy in transnational families often has a different ontology than in nuclear families; the former is primarily defined by routine while the latter is frequently characterised by instantaneity. This article criticises the failure in the literature on transnational families to recognise this difference, which has resulted in the expectation of transnational mothers to maintain intimate relations that embody nuclear family characteristics: mothers are expected to be 'here and there', 'absent-present' and always available from a distance. Such an expectation, the article argues, disregards the structural constraints that prevent its fulfilment, overlooks the ways in which migrant women have reconstituted mothering in transnational families, and retains the ideology of female domesticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-442
Number of pages18
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Communication technology
  • Gender
  • Intimacy
  • Migration
  • Transnational families


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