The Labor of Care

Filipina Migrants and Transnational Families in the Digital Age
Author: Valerie Francisco-Menchavez
Together but apart in a globalized world
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 04/16/2018
Cloth: 04/16/2018
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format
Book Share

About the Book

For generations, migration moved in one direction at a time: migrants to host countries, and money to families left behind. The Labor of Care argues that globalization has changed all that.

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez spent five years alongside a group of working migrant mothers. Drawing on interviews and up-close collaboration with these women, Francisco-Menchavez looks at the sacrifices, emotional and material consequences, and recasting of roles that emerge from family separation. She pays particular attention to how technologies like Facebook, Skype, and recorded video open up transformative ways of bridging distances while still supporting traditional family dynamics. As she shows, migrants also build communities of care in their host countries. These chosen families provide an essential form of mutual support. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of today's transnational family—sundered, yet inexorably linked over the distances by timeless emotions and new forms of intimacy.

About the Author

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez is an assistant professor of sociology at San Francisco State University.


"What is unique about Francisco-Menchavez's book is that it injects and offers a sociological perspective--one that is hopeful, uplifting--in the struggles of families to maintain a strengthened intimacy in spite of physical proximity."--Hella Pinay

"This book is definitely a must-read for scholars interested in the sociological aspect of transnational migration and for those interested in methodological advances in ethnographic research."--Journal of Contemporary Asia

"The Labor of Care is an excellent book that advances our understanding of migration, transnational families, and care work." --Symbolic Interaction

"Francisco-Menchavez brings a number of things to light, some of which serve as contextual reminders throughout the book and others of which activate new categories of understanding that frame the book's central focus of investigation. . . .This book is important in revealing the intense emotional labors that go into keeping the transnational family afloat often through decades of painful, forced separation." --Gender & Society

"The Labor of Care brings the scholarship up to date on the technological advances that enable intimacy for transnational family members." --AAARI


"Francisco-Menchavez’s deep research provides readers with a finely textured feel for the complex circuits of care within transnational families. Her work, in close collaboration with a Filipino domestic worker support group, is a major contribution to our understanding of Filipina migrant workers in the U.S., the care communities they create in the diaspora, and the relationships they sustain with the family members they have left behind, but who remain present in their emotional and virtual lives."--Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

"Valerie Francisco-Menchavez's work advances a burgeoning literature on both care work and transnational families in creative and significant ways. This book will make a significant intervention in the literature on transnational domestic workers, their families, and definitions of family."--Eileen Boris, coauthor of Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State

"Francisco-Menchavez offers a wonderfully nuanced analysis of transnational family formations and strategies for care within the context of globalization. This book is an outstanding example of engaged research; a must-read for those committed to a scholar-activist agenda."--Robyn Rodriguez, author of Migrants for Export: How the Philippines Brokers Labor to the World