Familial bonds and boarding passes: Understanding caregiving in a transnational context
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In January 2007 a first generation Indian migrant with Australian citizenship travelled to the United States from Australia to provide care for her Indian grandmother with severe dementia. She did so because her grandmother's primary carer, the Indian migrant's maternal aunt, had to escort her Filipina maid of over ten years back to the Philippines, after the maid had suffered an aneurism and had recovered enough to express her desire to return home. The multiple narratives embedded in these few lines illustrate that in the daily lives of transnational families and caregivers, gender, generation, migration, access, and homeland come together in a myriad of ways that complicate understandings of traditional caregiving and raise the question: whose 'story' do we focus on? Using an expanded framework of global care chains as articulated by Nicola Yeates and Loretta Baldassar's work on caregiving in transnational families, I explore through this personal 'case-study' how each link within the chain maps to the other and the power dynamics that contextualise these links. Building on Yeates' work, I argue for the recognition of temporality in transnational caregiving and conclude with a call for further research and theorising on caregiving that takes account of the transformations and transactions that occur within families in a global context.
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