Migration and the accentuated ambivalence of motherhood: the role of ICTs in Filipino transnational families



This article is concerned with the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on Filipina transnational mothers' experience of motherhood, their practices of mothering and, ultimately, their identities as mothers. Drawing on ethnographic research with Filipina migrants in the UK as part of a wider study of Filipino transnational families, this article observes that, despite the digital divide and other structural inequalities, new communication technologies, such as the internet and mobile phones, allow for an empowered experience of distant mothering. Apart from a change in the practice and intensity of mothering at a distance, ICTs also have consequences for women's maternal identities and the ways in which they negotiate their ambivalence towards work and family life. In this sense, ICTs can also be seen as solutions (even though difficult ones) to the cultural contradictions of migration and motherhood and the ‘accentuated ambivalence’ they engender. This, in turn, has consequences for the whole experience of migration, sometimes even affecting decisions about settlement and return.