Health and Care in the Estonian–Finnish Translocal Context
Keywords:Estonian-Finnish transnational space, care, health, informality, bounded mobilities
This article presents an ethnographic study of everyday care practices in the Estonian–Finnish context, drawing on theories of transnationalism and translocality. Based on interviews and participant observation, the article analyses translocal care from the point of view of Estonian families, members of which live or work in Finland. The Estonian–Finnish transnational space exists in practical, everyday terms, i.e. people transport goods from one place to another and use familiar services in their country of origin. Family responsibilities do not disappear with geographical distance, and there is a willingness to continue normal habits of care without interruption. However, the social policies framing care are still predominantly national. The article scrutinises gendered translocal practices related to bodily experiences and to self-care, and the multiplicity of ways in which (informal) translocal care affects the everyday lives of family members.The article uses the approach of bounded mobilities to look at social inequalities and hierarchies in the context of (im)mobilities. In the case of Estonia, intergenerational family solidarity is a requirement established by law, meaning that Estonians living abroad are obliged to provide maintenance for family members. For this reason, Estonia is an interesting case of informality intertwined with formality.
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