Welfare beyond Borders: Filipino Transnational Families’ Informal Social Protection Strategies

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

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Welfare beyond Borders: Filipino Transnational Families’ Informal Social Protection Strategies


  • Sanna Saksela-Bergholm Swedish School for Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland


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Abstract:  Remittances and caregiving arrangements are among the most significant practices of informal social protection against social risks and exclusion among transnational families. This article argues that remittances can provide social protection in cases where formal welfare services do not reach the citizens properly. Furthermore, it illustrates how members of Filipino transnational families can create sustainable informal social protection and utilise it long-term. The transnational practices are analysed to show how migrant capital, particularly the intersection of economic and social capital (Bourdieu, 1986), is transferred to informal social protection through meaningful reciprocity between the senders and recipients of remittances. Successful allocation of remittances and negotiation of care arrangements depend on the realisation of reciprocity and its social context, such as life circumstances, moral obligations and migrants’ personal goals for migration. The data draw on observations and 41 qualitative interviews conducted both in Finland and in the Philippines.

Keywords:  caregiving; informal social protection; Filipino transnational families; migrant capital; social capital; reciprocity; remittances

Published:   19 December 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i4.2309


© Sanna Saksela-Bergholm. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.