Dr Chand Somaiah1
1Asia Research Institute, National University Of Singapore, , Singapore
As part of an increasing cohort of transnational skilled labour, the Coorgs are facing contradictory pressures from community members to preserve Kodavame (obligations to the homeland of Kodagu and its customary ways). While moral communities are often founded and bounded upon thick social relations, my research participants’ practices of maternal transnational care towards others depicted an inter-weaving of both thick and thin social relations (Granovetter 1973). While I continue in the tradition of work which uncovers everyday transnationalism ‘on the ground’, I emphasize the gendered, maternal dimensions of doing this within the g/local South Asian, specifically Coorg context, using the site of kinwork, emotions, and charity beyond the family. Evidence is drawn from instances of reproductive caring interactions and (transnational) charity conducted by my participants. I orient the concept of ‘motherwork’ (Collins 1994), before foregrounding the ‘emotional terrain of families’ (Ryan 2008), and the affective labour of kin-keeping in transnational families. I discuss how the emotional carework of transnational Coorg families is practiced within the realm of extended kin and beyond. I conclude by offering my data as suggestion of an extended moral community with variant extensions of care and discuss its implications.
Chand Somaiah is Research Fellow in the Asian Migration cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. She received her PhD in Sociology from Macquarie University. Her research interests include gendered experiences of migration and carework.