Joddi Alden

Joddi Alden


Pinay, Balikbayan, Canadian: Transnational Trajectories of Filipina Domestic Workers in the Negotiation of Contemporary Neoliberalisms

Often portrayed as disciplined victims or as trafficked bodies, Filipina domestic workers are, in fact, agents of migration and transformation. My paper expands and nuances existing models of labour migration by Filipina domestic labourers, seeking to understand the creative struggles and strategies they employ in order to create alternative futures for themselves and their families within and outside the Philippines. By examining the larger macrostructures of global labour and carework alongside the everyday experiences of women who are employed as domestic workers, I seek to also illustrate how these women are undisciplined agents of resistance, carving out stable spaces for themselves in ever-shifting and uncertain geographical locations. This project will complicate how these women’s journeys are informed by constructions of nationhood, and processes of state exceptionalism that are underwritten by the dehabilitating effects of the current neoliberal, and increasingly globalized, moment. I will specifically investigate how Filipina careworkers create transnational labour trajectories stretching from rural spaces in the Global South (the Philippines), to intermediary households in international ports (Hong Kong) to urban centres in the Global North (specifically in Canada). The purpose of this paper is to explore the complexities of how power interlocks[1] to provide the conditions under which Filipina women migrate transnationally for labour, and how migrants are constantly reworking, contesting, and transforming the disciplinary constructs of neoliberalism.

[1] By “interlock”, I mean the ways that different forms of privilege and oppression intersect in the production of marginalization.



Joddi Alden is a Master’s candidate at Queen’s University in the Department of Gender Studies. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of the Fraser Valley (2010), with a minor in French Literature and Language. Her research interests include feminist theory and geographies, migrant policy, transnational global development, and labour relations. The paper, “Pinay, Balikbayan, Canadian: Transnational Trajectories of Filipina Domestic Workers in the Negotiation of Contemporary Neoliberalisms” forms a significant portion of her Master’s research into gendered, racialized, and classed labour relations between the Philippines and Canada.

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