Becoming independent through au pair migration: Self-making and social re-positioning among young Filipinas in Denmark

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Over the past decade, growing numbers of young Filipinas have entered Denmark on the au pair scheme. While its official aim is to broaden the cultural horizons of youth, researchers generally view Filipina au pairing as a form of labour migration using au pairs as inexpensive domestic workers. This article argues that, despite this critique, au pairing does play an important formative role for young Filipinas because it opens up for experiences abroad that enable them to be recognised as independent adults in Philippine society. Rather than autonomy, however, au pairs define their independence in terms of their capacity to assume responsibility for others, thereby achieving a position of social respect. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Denmark and the Philippines, this article explores how young Filipinas use the social, economic, and cultural resources they gain from their au pair stay abroad to re-position themselves vis-à-vis family and friends at home.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIdentities - Global Studies in Culture and Power
Volume22
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)333-346
Number of pages14
ISSN1070-289X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 119826738