Michelle G. Ong

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of the Philippines
  • Philippines
    • Intellectual Exchange
    • Others (Social)
  • The Asia Center Fellowship Program
  • Grant Year: Fiscal Year 2015
January 25, 2016 - July 25, 2016
Country of Activity
Japan, Japan

Growing old in an ageing Japan: Filipina migrants' experiences and meaning-making

This project looks into older Filipina migrants’ experiences and meaning-making around ageing in Japan to explore the intersections of gender, age, and migrant status. Using a poststructuralist approach to language together with a framework based on Sikolohiyang Pilipino (indigenous Filipino psychology) and feminist psychology, I used individuals’ stories about their bodies and experiences of growing older to examine larger social discourses around gender, ageing, and migration. Japanese and Philippine societal views on Filipina migrants and on ageing were found to shape women’s ideas, choices, and decisions around growing older as migrants in Japan. The women interviewed crafted positive subjectivities through the embodiment of the good wife and mother, the good migrant, and the modern retiree, even as they struggled with their unique set of constraints--- limited, diminishing opportunities and resources as ageing migrants in Japan, language difficulties, and the demands to help support family in the Philippines. This study argues that social inequalities as expressed in policies, programs, and everyday practices, not individual will or skill, determine to a great degree how well we achieve a ‘successful’ ageing.

(Activity continued at Fellow's expense from July 26, 2016 to August 5, 2016.)

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