Living between Multiple Sites?: Care and Mobility among Bulgarian Migrant Women
Paper short abstract:
This paper aims to explore how Bulgarian migrant care workers have been organized their mobility and care at home and abroad for over ten years, and to examine how their practices impact on communities left behind, for example, on the intergenerational relationships of care, etc.
Paper long abstract:
Since the 1990s, after the collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe, the migration of women throughout this area has grown sharply. From the villages in the Lovech district, northern Bulgaria, where I have carried out fieldwork, a number of women in mid or later life also made the choice to move as single migrants and to work as live-in caregivers or domestic workers mainly in Greece and Italy. Although many of these migrant workers act as their family's main breadwinner, they, mature mothers or sometimes grandmothers, have been simultaneously expected to take on the role of caregivers at home. When these women decided to work abroad, most of them were middle-aged mothers with teenage children, and so they tried to maintain constant communication with their children in Bulgaria by using mobile phones, Skype and Facebook for 'transnational mothering'. Today, about ten years later, they are expected to care for their own old parents or their grandchildren and some of them are wondering whether to return to Bulgaria or not. Drawing on a long-standing fieldwork in Bulgaria and on short-term fieldwork in Italy, this paper aims to explore how these Bulgarian women have been organized their mobility and care at home and abroad for over ten years. Then, I would like to examine how these new practices impact on communities left behind, especially on their intergenerational relationships of care, gender orders and the notion of 'family' and 'home'.
Ageing, care and transnational mobilities