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Contentious Relations and Emotional Burdens: Remittances in Filipino Transnational Families

Derrace Garfield McCallum


Based on data that was collected as part of a larger multi-sited transnational ethnography of Filipino migrants who live in the Chubu region of Japan and their family members in the Philippines, this paper discusses the unpleasant emotional encounters experienced by transnational families. The narratives presented in this paper show that migrant family members often provide care despite extreme emotional burdens, which have far-reaching implications for their emotional well-being but which is necessary to keep their families functional in difficult times. Additionally, this paper reveals that migrants’ concern for their family members’ welfare coupled with obligations of social reproduction often motivate migrants’ self-sacrifice, which sometimes result in disruptions in emotional relations, even if these ruptures are not likely to fundamentally undermine familial bonds and the strength of kinship ties.


Philippines; care; conflict; family; remittances

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