Journal Title

Critical Sociology

Publication Date



Drawing on multi-sited ethnography and qualitative research, I argue that the visual register in particular modes of communication technology like Skype and Facebook ushers in a different quality of relationships for transnational families. Most participants in this study are undocumented immigrants unable to return to their families for long periods of time because of legal consequences that will ban them from coming back and working in the USA. On the other hand, their families in the Philippines cannot visit the USA without proper documentation. The economic necessity of working abroad and legal conditions deter family reunification. Consequently, since these families are separated their only means of sustaining their relationships is through communication technology. The new mediums of communication, given their innovations in visuality, frequency and access to one another’s digital lives, present complicated issues as well as different forms of intimacy for members in a transnational family.

Author Supplied Keywords

transnational family, care work, domestic workers, Philippines, Skype, Facebook, immigration family


Communication in families; Communication and technology; Immigrant families

Publication Information

OnlineFirst version of Record





Document Type

Journal Article