Interpersonal Ties and Health Care: Examining the Social Networks of Filipino Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong

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Carlos M. Piocos III
Ron Bridget T. Vilog
Jan Michael Alexandre C. Bernadas


This paper explores the relationship between the social networks of Filipino migrant domestic workers (FMDWs) in Hong Kong and the accessibility of health resources, especially for migrant women. This study primarily draws evidence from ethnographic interviews with 20 FMDWs in Hong Kong. Likewise, this analysis also relied on field notes from participant observations during formal meetings and informal activities. This paper reveals that FMDWs strategically use their strong and weak ties in managing risks and accessing resources for their health and well-being by deciding among their social network who and what to share regarding health concerns. They conscientiously negotiate their rights and opportunities with their employers, who can also provide access to social and institutional resources. Finally, FMDWs participate in conversations and discourses on health-related policies of their home and host countries with their social network. By focusing on the social networks of FMDWs in Hong Kong, this paper conceptually and empirically broadens conversations about how migration becomes a social determinant of health. Moreover, it illustrates how migrant social networks are organized, activated, and mobilized around discourses on state-crafted health policies towards migrant women.


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Author Biography

Carlos M. Piocos III, Department of Literature, De La Salle University, Philippines

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