Megha Amrith, PhD, Max Planck Institute for The Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Ageing, migration and translocal mobilities in global perspective

My work has studied the relationship between care and migration, with an ethnographic exploration of the everyday co-presence of Filipino care workers and residents of an older-age nursing home in Singapore. These encounters involve frequent negotiations of religious, ethnic and linguistic boundaries, and they challenge particular expectations and understandings of care in the region. This research led me to the questions that sit at the heart of my new research group ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’, which examines the intersections between ageing, migration and translocal mobilities. My talk will set out the group’s research agenda: an investigation into how ageing and mobility jointly shape and respond to social, cultural and political-economic transformations, with a focus on regions of the ‘Global South’ that are rapidly ageing but that have not been widely featured in academic and policy research agendas on ageing migrants. It will consider the diverse range of relationships between ageing and mobility including the experiences of displaced older refugees; the formation of new communities among people who migrate in later life; and the active role of those who do not necessarily migrate, yet whose lives are profoundly shaped by translocal mobilities. Conceptually, questions of care, kinship, home, memory, citizenship and inequality sit at the project’s core. I will illustrate these broader questions with a closer look at how older returning migrants and those ‘left behind’ are building new retirement communities in the Asian context, and the capitalist political-economic forces that underlie these developments.

Megha Amrith is Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity for the project ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’. From 2014 - 2017, she was Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility in Barcelona, working to connect academic and policy debates on migration. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and her doctoral work was an ethnography of Filipino migrant care and medical workers in Singapore. Her research interests include transnational migration, urban diversity, care, labour, citizenship and ageing. She is the author of Caring for Strangers: Filipino Medical Workers in Asia (NIAS Press, 2017) and co-editor of the forthcoming book Gender, Work and Migration (Routledge, 2018).

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