IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Standby mothering: Temporalities, affects and politics of mobile caregiving

14 June 2019, 1:00 pm–2:30 pm

Taking a photo

Dr Earvin Cabalquinto investigates the ways in which left-behind mothers in the Philippines use mobile devices and online platforms to perform and negotiate transnational caregiving.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity (CSEE)


Room 790
UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
20 Bedford Way

Much literature on transnational family life has focussed on the role of digital communication technologies in enabling the performance of transnational mothering by overseas mothers through mobile device use. To date, little research has been conducted to identify and examine how left-behind mothers use mobile devices in the provision of care work among their overseas loved ones.

Earvin proposes the term 'standby mothering' to encapsulate the affective labour and personal tactics used by left-behind mothers in delivering caregiving to their overseas adult migrant children. Paradoxically, mobile device use enables left-behind mothers to reclaim a caring and nurturing role, as well as bear the burdens of asymmetrical transnational communication.

By interrogating the contradictory affects negotiated by left-behind mothers, Earvin underscores the politics of mediated mobilities in a digital society. Feminised and unpaid labour enacted through mobile device use does not only immobilise stringent gendered ideologies, it also amplifies the operations of a globalised economy through the flows of goods, money and digital information. Ultimately, disparities and disruptions in a global arena may situate the already marginalised transnational family in a ‘waiting game’ of being served with a stable future by the Philippine state.

This event is chaired by Professor Jessica Ringrose, with Professor Carol Vincent as respondent.

Join in the conversation on Twitter at #CSEEJustIdeas 


About the Speaker

Dr Earvin Cabalquinto

Lecturer at the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University

Earvin received his PhD in Communications and Media Studies at Monash University in 2016. His thesis is entitled 'At Home From Afar: The Mobile Lives of the Transnational Filipino Family.' His research expertise lies in the intersections of digital media, mobilities and migration.