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Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms - Odalia Wong's presentation at Morning Panel

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On 20th May 2016 UNU-CS hosted an event on Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms in Macau.

The one-day event brought together scholars, practitioners and activists to share learning and exchange ideas on the range of migrant technologies research being conducted across Asia and explore future collaborative approaches.

The key theme addressed at the event was how the use of mobile technologies adds layers of freedoms and unfreedoms to migration.

Speakers of the day include:

Introduction and Welcome: Michael Best, Director of UNU-CS
Opening Remarks: Tony Roberts, UNU-CS

Morning Panel: Emerging themes in Migrant Technology research
- Chair: Tony Roberts, UNU-CS
- Jack Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong - Freedom, Slavery, and Working-Class ICTs: Learning from Chinese Migrant Workers in Foxconn
- Nikos Dacanay, Chiang Mai University - ICT usage and how ethnic migrant women in northern Thailand indigenize/mediate human rights’ discourse of gender equality
- Odalia Wong, Baptist University of Hong Kong - Transnational Mothers and Mobile Phone Usage: The Case of the Filipino Female Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
- Discussant: Rhodora A. Abano, Centre for Migrant Advocacy in Philippines

Afternoon Panel: New Migrant Technologies
- Chair: Tony Roberts, UNU-CS
- Kayoko Ueno, University of Tokushima - Facebook Activism and Networking among Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore
- Jude Yew, National University of Singapore - Pemca: A proposed mobile platform for crowdsourcing the reporting and visualization of migrant worker injuries/deaths
- Kakit Cheong, National University of Singapore - Kwento: Designing a family storytelling mobile application for domestic helpers
- Discussant: Fish Ip, International Domestic Workers Federation

Published in: Technology
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Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms - Odalia Wong's presentation at Morning Panel

  1. 1. ODALIA WONG Baptist University of Hong Kong Migrant Technologies: (re)producing (un)freedoms Friday, 20th May, 2016 10:00am – 4:30pm Nations University Institute on Computing and Society for a free, one-day event where we bring together scholars, practitioners and o panel discussions to share our understandings and research on information and communication technology (ICT) use by migrants from Asia. r now on Eventbrite by 15th May 2016 to secure your place for the event ww.eventbrite.com/e/migrant-technologies-reproducing-unfreedoms- 922537982. : Casa Silva Mendes, Estrada do o Trigo No 4, Macau SAR, China to the main entrance of Hotel Guia) y: MIGRANT TECHNOLOGIES: (RE)PRODUCING (UN)FREEDOMS Emerging themes in Migrant Technology research Morningpanel Transnational Mothers and Mobile Phone Usage: The Case of the Filipino Female Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
  2. 2. Transnational Mothers and Mobile Phone Usage: The Case of the Filipino Female Domestic Workers in Hong Kong Dr. Odalia M.H. Wong Department of Sociology Hong Kong Baptist University
  3. 3. Transnational Mothers  Transnational mothers (Parrenas 2000; Castles and Miller 2003; Trask 2010; Ehrenreich and Hochschild 2007):  the feminization of international migration and  the commodification of domestic service  Mothering usually means directly involved in taking care of children, providing them with emotional support, and supervising them  For transnational mothers, their physical absence from the families poses challenges to them in performing the role and duties of a mother  Frequent communication is necessary
  4. 4. Transnational Mothering via Telecommunication  Scholars (Parrenas 2005; Dreby 2006; Uy-Tioco 2007; Baldassar 2008) show that frequent, spontaneous mobile communication creates the virtual presence of a transnational mother for her children and makes the mother 24-hour-accessible  confidence in mothering from afar and influence on child rearing  Others (Uy-Tioco 2007; Hochschild 1989) argue that telecommunication technology entraps transnational mothers into performing the second shift transnationally and enforces traditional gendered parenting roles on them  ICTs usage is sometimes oppressive for transnational mothers
  5. 5. Research Questions  Are their differences among the transnational mothers in the way transnational they practice their maternal duties via ICTs?  What are the factors contributing to the different styles of transnational mothering via ICTs?  Transnational mothering via telecommunication: mothers’ daily practices of maternal duties via mobile phone usage
  6. 6. Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong  Domestic workers from the Philippines came to work in Hong Kong towards the end of 1980s  In July 2013, 160,729 Filipino domestic workers – they constituted the largest group of foreign domestic workers present in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Immigration Department, 2013)
  7. 7. Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
  8. 8. Our Research  This was a research project conducted by me and Dr. Yinni Peng(Sociology, HKBU)  We conducted in-depth interviews (lasting one hour to four hours) with 27 Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong between May and August, 2010 • Conducted at various places in Hong Kong, from the crowded boarding houses in Jordan, to the parks and blocked streets (pedestrian zones) in Central, and the beautiful seashores in Sai Kung
  9. 9. Souvenirs from Our Respondents
  10. 10. Mobile Phone Consumption 100~199 30% 200~299 26% 300~399 22% 400+ 18% N/A 4% Monthly Consumption on Mobile Communication (HK$/per month)
  11. 11. Mobile Phone Usage and Virtual Motherhood  Three patterns of transnational motherhood Intensive mothering (9) Collaborative mothering (13) Passive mothering (5)
  12. 12. Intensive Mothering & Mobile Communication  More than one-third engaged in intensive communication and interaction with their children via mobile phone usage  Contact their children directly more than 3 times a day for updates and make themselves available 24 hours a day  Actively participate in their children’s daily lives  The mother as the primary caregiver for their children  A mother’s care is qualitatively different from that of others and indispensible for her children’s growth and development  Their maternal instincts enable them to overcome the difficulties due to spatial segregation
  13. 13. Collaborative Mothering & Mobile Communication  About half of our respondents adopted a collaborative pattern  Use mobile phones to maintain regular contact with their children, as well as to frequently negotiate parenting strategies and division of labor in childcare with the caregivers  Emphasize the caregivers’ active role in childrearing  provide transnational mothers with information about their children  help transnational mothers rebuild emotional bonds with their children despite being physically absent  play different roles in parenting
  14. 14. Passive Mothering & Mobile Communication  Passive mothering is a frustrating choice made by some transnational mothers to avoid the pain and depression caused by their loss of power and autonomy in childrearing  Passive mothering: • lack of collaborative and supportive family members • lack of effective tactics • children’s indifferent attitude and resistance • a self-protection mechanism: oppressive mothering, the affliction and depression of the unpleasant mother-children relationships
  15. 15. Conclusion  Mobile phone usage plays a significant role in constructing the virtual presence of mothers and providing a channel for transnational mothers to provide emotional support and supervision to their children  Three different patterns of mothering practices reveal that transnational mothering via telecommunication is a sophisticated process full of continuous negotiations, collaborations, contradictions, and sometimes conflicts.  Telecommunication cannot solve all problems caused by spatial distance and separation; at least alleviates some of their pain and creates new opportunities to reconstruct their motherhood

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