More Than Just “Friends”? the Role of Transnational Voluntary Kin Relationships on Ageing Domestic Workers' Access to Social Protection

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Maria VIVAS-ROMERO, University of Liege, Faculty of Social Sciences, Belgium
The feminization of migration, led to an academic interest on female migrant domestic worker’s transnational obligations as mothers and family members. Less emphasis, has been placed on their own needs in terms of care and social protection, particularly in their ageing life period. This contribution makes a case for assessing the role of transnational voluntary kin relationships on ageing-migrant-domestic-worker access to social protection . Transnational voluntary kin relationships are defined as family-type relationships, based not on blood or law association but rather on voluntary agreements. It’s argued that migrants access to transnational voluntary kin relationships depends on their intersectional positioning and replace, overlap or complement traditional family support. These relationships are a social capital that facilitates access to social protection in the areas of labor, social security entitlement, housing and informal practical-symbolic care. Through the analysis emphasis is first placed on how migrants intersectional  gender, class, ethnic, generational positioning within the welfare, gender, care, and migration-labor regimes of sending and receiving societies, determines their needs and access to such relationships. Subsequently, the role of two instrumental voluntary kin relationships in migrants access to social protection are explored, meaning: 1- Substitute Voluntary Kin that intervene when blood or law type family members are dead, underperformed their roles or there are ongoing conflicts, 2- Supplemental Voluntary Kin that intervene when traditional family members that reside within physical or non-physical proximity are unable to perform their roles. Data draws from the life-stories of 8 Peruvian-Colombian ageing migrant domestic workers residing in Brussels and 45 semi-structured interviews with their voluntary and traditional transnational kin residing in various geographical locations. This contributions aims to improve the knowledge on emerging nontraditional family support systems that help to alliviate the reproductive and productive needs of transnational ageing individuals in modern societies.