(Im)mobile Homes: Family Life at a Distance in the Age of Mobile Media

ISBN : 9780197524831

Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto
256 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Apr 2022
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The home has been on the forefront of rapid economic, political, social, and technological transformations for many individuals and families across the world. As a country reliant on the exportation of human labor to sustain its national economy, the Philippines exemplifies a valuable case study of the impacts of a globalized and networked society on the everyday dynamics of a transnational family arrangement. Despite ranking among the heaviest Internet users in the world, Filipino citizens are often left with no choice but to navigate digital and transnational environments orchestrated by the uneven distribution of both national and international resources and opportunities. (Im)mobile Homes investigates the role of smartphones, social media channels, and various mobile applications in forging and sustaining intimate ties among dispersed Filipino family members. Examining the digital lifeworlds of transnational Filipino family in Australia, this volume draws on rich ethnographic study to explore the benefits of digital communication as well as the tensions enabled by the influences of socio-cultural structures, socio-economic conditions, technological affordances, and institutional policies and processes on mobile practices. It portrays the physically distributed yet virtually connected nature of the transnational Filipino family through diverse contexts, such as observing family rituals, performing intimate care, and managing crises, and foregrounds their unique strategies in addressing the interruptions of connecting at a distance. Ultimately, this volume underscores how mobile practices of the transnational Filipino family negotiate the pre-existing and broader structural systems that (re)produce marginalization in a digital and global era. Enriched by moving stories of transnational families, (Im)mobile Homes offers a critical lens towards interrogating the possibilities and politics of a home from afar in the digital era.


Chapter 1. Mediated (Im)mobilities
Chapter 2. Zones of Reterritorialized Domesticity: 'It's Like Leaving Messages on the Fridge'
Chapter 3. Homeland (Dis)connections: 'It's Like I'm in the Philippines'
Chapter 4. Restaging Interrupted Rituals: 'It's As If They're Beside Me'
Chapter 5. Mobile (Un)caring at a Distance: 'You Really Love Us My Son'
Chapter 6. Bittersweet Festivity: 'We're Not Only Here but We're Also There in Spirit'
Chapter 7. Digital Lifeline in Turbulent Times: 'As Long as They're Okay, I'm Okay'
8. An (Im)mobile Home and Beyond
Methodological Appendix

About the author: 

Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto is Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University. He is also a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University. His research agenda locates the potentialities and paradoxes nestled in the conduct of personal, familial, and social life at a distance via an ecology of mobile technologies and online platforms.

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