From Longing to Belonging: Emotions and Experiences of Filipina Migrant Workers in Valencia, Spain

Author: Mari-An Santos (University of Granada, Spain)
Speaker: Mari-An Santos
Topic: Language, Gender, Sexuality
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 Colloquium Session

Panel Abstract

As a consequence of neoliberalism of the global economy, the feminisation of labor has resulted in a care chain that draws women from the global south to leave their homes and families for higher salaries in the global north. This movement presents a globally relevant and important concern. However, policies have not been developed to safeguard migrant workers. The Philippines is one of the largest ‘sending’ countries in the world. Though much literature has examined the phenomenon from perspectives of the families (specifically, children left behind), and their channels of communication, as well as consequences of returnees after overseas employment, very little research has focused on the experiences of women who choose to remain with their families in the receiving country.

From conversations with Filipino women who have worked in Spain for more than 20 years, using a Sikolohiyang Pilipino (“Philippine Psychology”) decolonising methodology, this research provides space for voices to be heard, as these women face a plethora of issues, including ageing, longing for home, and adjusting to and subsequently building a life in a foreign land. Their narratives reflect various parallel emotions. Despite that each story may indicate uniqueness, these women experience similar concerns. The stories expose links between language and emotion, with narratives traversing from their home in the Philippines to establishing new homes in Spain. The research was conducted in March 2019 and is part of a larger study of emotions of ageing Filipina migrant workers.

Keywords: ageing, Filipinas, migrants, emotions, migrant workers, domestic workers