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ANTB20H3 Study Guide - Arjun Appadurai


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTB20H3
Professor
Girish Daswani

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WEEK 9: “The care crisis in the Philippines: Children and Transnational Families in
the New Global Economy”
Roughly two-thirds of Filipino migrant workers are women and their exodus usually
to fill domestic jobs that has generated tremendous social changes in the Philippines
They tend to leave their own children behind to take care of other people’s kids
Many of the Filipino children tend to grow in divided households under serious
emotional strain
In response, government officials and journalists denounce migrating mothers,
claiming that they have caused the Filipino family to deteriorate, children to be
abandoned and a crisis of care to take root in the Philippines and to end this crisis
the mothers need to come back (and jobs should only be undertaken by single,
childless women)
These reports state that the children of the migrating mothers face more profound
problems than do those of migrating fathers (despite the fact that most of these
children are left in the custody of relatives, journalists tend to refer to them as
“abandoned”)- and this abandonment usually leads the children to do drugs,
gambling and drinking
Some journalists stated that rapes are starting to rise within Manila and this is most
common in families without mothers (mostly because the children of the migrant
become a burden on the larger society)
Of the 69 interviews conducted from January to July 2000, almost none of the
children have reunited with their families and they do tend to show symptoms of
emotional hardship (the hardships were often diminished when they received
support from their extended families and communities and when they understand
the limited financial options that their parents to migrate in the first place)
Care is now the country’s primary export (totalling almost $7 billion in 1999)
Another reason to why women migrate is because there are limited choices in
Philippines to sustain their families financially (but they face a lot of difficulties
while caring for other’s children and not being able to look after their own)
Children who come from families with very little financial options have no choice
but to put their emotional needs aside
Many mothers like Ellen’s mother still manage to “be there” from a vast distance
(they provide emotional care and guidance from a far)
Philippine media tend to equate the absence of a child’s biological mother with
abandonment, which leads to the assumption that all such children lacking family
support will become social liabilities
Children who have positive surrogate parental figures, open communication with
their migrant parents, acknowledgement of the migrant parent’s contribution to the
mobility of the family have an easier time adjusting
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