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The Labours of Kinship: Migration, Ties of Relatedness, and the Changing Family in the Philippines and Italy

This project investigates the vectors of connection between Filipino migrant domestic helpers, their families in the Philippines, and the Italian families they work for, and the roles that these vectors play in the contemporary transformation of Filipino and Italian families. It aims to provide an alternative account to the dominant understanding of Filipino migration to Italy that is often explained in terms of demographic pressures, or alternatively, framed in terms of 'care chain' and the 'feminisation of labour,' which are powerful but ultimately problematic conceptualisations that not only deprive migrants of their agency, but also rely on static and reified notions of the family. Existing studies suggest that salient vectors of connection include religion, citizenship and immigration laws, and ideologies and practices that place the family at the centre of social relations. The literature also indicates that changes in the family revolve around gender relations, notions and experiences of childhood, and intergenerational ties. The extent and importance of these vectors and dimensions require empirical scrutiny, and to do this, the study will employ multisited ethnographic research in the Philippines and Italy. The study draws primarily from the anthropology of kinship and relatedness, but engages in a conversation with the anthropology of migration as well as historical anthropology. From an area studies perspective, the study hopes to rekindle connections between Philippine/Southeast Asian studies and Mediterranean studies.