Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Health, Well-Being, and Rights: Mapping the Boundaries of Belonging for Filipino Caregivers in Israel

This study explores claims made by Filipino migrant caregivers in a northern Israeli city to assert their perceived right to increased forms of social integration, including access to permanent residency and citizenship. Caregivers formulate their claims through their belief that marginalized social status and sociolegal closures prevent them from experiencing good health. They rework the category health to denote a broad, nuanced category of physical, mental, and social well-being. In their configuration, contexts of discrimination, unstable visa conditions, and narrow avenues through which to express their social and political personhood limits their actualization of good health. Furthermore, Filipino migrant caregivers negotiate and author vernacular narratives of health rights, democracy, and religious precepts to frame the ethical legitimacy of their health-based claims. This dissertation shows how Filipino migrant caregivers in my research constructed a series of cross-cultural logics through which to demand formal inclusion and recognition in the Israeli body politic. These logics called upon Israel's status as a democratic nation, its participation in international human rights communities, the Jewish religious ethics that are central to national understandings of moral behavior, caregivers' assertions that they successfully adopted an embodied "Israeli" identity, and notions of reciprocity of care. This research articulates with global concerns over the rising care crisis in coordination with nation states in the global north steadily enforcing social closures to exclude migrant workers' continued presence in these European and American countries. As nation states rhetorically assert their intended reduction of global migrant labor and implement programs to exclude migrant workers from labor markets and social bodies, a pressing question emerges regarding who will provide care for the elderly in the coming decades.