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Accepted Paper:

Care and inheritance disputes in the time of migration: upward mobility, siblings, and their elderly parents in the central Philippines  
Resto Cruz (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how inheritance disputes illuminate the nexus of ageing, migration, and care in the central Philippines.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines how inheritance disputes illuminate the nexus of ageing, migration, and care.

For my interlocutors in the central Philippines, land ownership was a recent development. It differentiated the successful middle classes from their class superiors and inferiors. Yet, land’s increased economic value – fuelled by overseas remittances – meant that property exerted considerable pressure on persons and their relations. Amongst siblings, heritable property amplified and created enmities whilst accentuating inequalities and perceived shortcomings.

I foreground a family considered by their peers as exemplary in achieving upward mobility. I highlight how that family’s matriarch foresaw and sought to mitigate an inheritance dispute, and how this was interpreted as an act of care for her adult children. The dispute itself was wound up with care obligations: those who looked after or provided for their elderly parents received the parental house or a bigger share of the land, to the displeasure of their siblings. The dispute was linked too to the children’s own ageing. For migrants, their inheritance claims were saturated by, and interpreted through, considerations of eventual retirement and return, as well as histories of having obtained power within the family, but also enduring demands from parents, siblings, and nieces/nephews.

My account thus illustrates how migration transforms ageing and relations of care; how elderly parents must be seen as both recipients and givers of care; how migrants grapple with their own ageing; and how care has multiple registers, is embedded within various temporalities, and indexes vulnerabilities, capabilities, and inequalities.

Panel P090
Ageing, care and transnational mobilities
  Session 1 Tuesday 14 August, 2018, -