TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION AND SOCIAL REPRODUCTION: FILIPINO HOTEL WORKERS IN RURAL MANITOBA
MetadataShow full item record
At the intersection of three highways, the Douglas Hotel, in Manitoba’s central-west, is a place to stop for a coffee, a meal, or a night’s accommodation. Like elsewhere on the Canadian prairies, the daily labour required of these services falls largely to a migrant workforce. Bringing together historic political economy with feminist political economy, I draw on the presence of this workforce, comprised of 71 Filipino service and hospitality workers, in Douglas as an entry point into an extended exploration of the workings of social reproduction under globalized capitalism historically and at the beginning of the 21st Century. Sensitive to the transnationality that characterizes the lives of these workers, this multi-sited ethnographic study reads the details of everyday life in Manitoba and the Philippines through the historic and present-day political economy of each site. Offering this parallel yet integrated account, I highlight the variability of migrant experience in Canada at the sub-national level, as well as the ways in which receiving-states and private enterprise collaborate in the creation of labour markets. Low-wage and low–status, the labour market in question demands a kind of corporate, commodified care work that ensures the bodily reproduction of the Hotel’s guests and the material reproduction of the Hotel itself. Following from the objectives of their migration, the labour these workers perform at the Hotel also supports the survival and well-being of family in the Philippines. However, in addition to ensuring the material reproduction of non-migrant kin, through their use of digital communication technology and social media, these migrants contribute to the reproduction of migrant subjectivities, and subsequently, respond to the needs of global capital and the Philippine state. Thus, identifying the various, scaled forms of social reproduction in which the Hotel’s migrant workers participate, this thesis offers a multi-faceted, transnational account of reproduction, incorporating migrants, their families, their employer, and multiple state players. While not reproductive as conventionally defined, their labour at the Hotel provides insight into the patterning and re-patterning of social reproduction, and its associated labour, under global capital. Moreover, it demonstrates the centrality of those processes to operations of capitalism.