Accepted paper:

Long-distance care. The practices and narratives of immigrant engagement in development projects at home


Helena Patzer (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the role emotions play in Filipino immigrants’ practices and narratives of engagement in a development organization at home.

Paper long abstract:

Based on ethnographic fieldwork with Filipino immigrants in Boston and the development organization they support in Manila, this paper seeks to analyze "long-distance care" for the home country as expressed by taking part in a development project. The template for "caring for the home country" is being created in Manila, and then reworked by the immigrants in the US, as the organization exists in a transnational space. Caring for the Philippines is thus expressed not only by giving money for the project, but also through changing one's life to live according to the "mission", giving testimonies at fundraising events, raising awareness among other compatriots, and also spending vacation at home doing work for the development organization. I look both at the practices of immigrants, and the narratives they tell about their engagement to see what role emotions play in them. The display of emotions seems to be crucial, as the narratives told by the immigrants about their work for the organization often speak about "the change of heart", "the Filipino compassionate heart", "being your brother's keeper", "caring and sharing", "a debt towards the home country" etc.

panel MMM04
Mobile sentiments: transformations of affect amid transnational migration