This Special Issue published in February 2019 expands mobilities research through the idea of therapeutic mobilities. Therapeutic mobilities consist of multiple movements of health-related things and beings, including, though not limited to, nurses, doctors, patients, narratives, information, gifts and pharmaceuticals. These beings and things are made mobile through the work of multiple assemblages (including states, markets, non-markets) creating an infrastructure with the potential to unfold, develop and or expand the therapeutic capacities of these inputs. Mobility can enhance, magnify, distort or intensify the therapeutic effects and powers of these inputs in motion. Mobility thus transforms the practice and product that is being moved.
When plants are uprooted in remote Laotian forests, packaged, shipped and sold at farmers’ markets in the U.S. (Bochaton), when aspirational young people in the Philippines and India leave their homes to be trained as nurses to care for patients in the West (Thompson; Walton-Roberts), when distressed patients extend their quest for effective therapies – often with the help of intermediaries/facilitators/brokers (Hartmann) – to overseas destinations such as fertility clinics in Mexico (Schurr), cancer wards in India (Kaspar) or corporate hospitals in Malaysia (Chee, Whittaker, and Por), they all become productive of the emerging ‘economies of vitality’—as life itself is made amenable to the new economic space of the ‘bioeconomy’ (Rose 2007). We interpret these as different examples of what we call therapeutic mobilities.
Asymmetrical therapeutic mobilities: Masculine advantage in nurse migration from India.
Margaret Walton-Roberts, Wilfrid Laurier University
Abstract: This paper examines masculinity, migration and the changing occupational status of nursing through the lens of therapeutic mobilities; health related mobilities of people (nurses) and products (credentials). Indian men have become increasingly interested in nursing as a career, and this interest is strongly associated with the profession’s international motility-its mobility potential. The research reported in this paper traces the migration trajectory across time (2008-2016) and over space (India to Canada) and reveals an overrepresentation of male nurses in international migration contexts (Canada), compared to the Indian context. Male nurses also disproportionally benefit from these mobilities in terms of their occupational success post-migration. Mobilities can be therapeutic for the status of nursing in India, which rises in line with the degree of international motility the profession offers, but gendered distinctions in the outcomes of the migration process illustrate the importance of highlighting uneven mobilities. International mobilities are also deeply implicated in ongoing transformations occurring in the ‘moorings’ of nursing educational, employment and regulatory structures in India.
Keywords: male nurses; occupational mobility; migration; India; Canada
The global migration of Filipino nurses has received significant attention, yet little is known of these healthcare workers’ experiences and mobilities within the Philippines. I explore the experiences and narratives of Filipino nurses living in Manila, some of whom have no desires to migrate. I uncover the often novel forms of therapeutic mobilities undertaken by these nurses, focusing on call centre nursing and entrepreneurship as key alternative career pathways within the realms of ‘therapeutics’. Through interrogating the various mobilities undertaken by nurses – physical mobilities and migration, socioeconomic mobilities and occupational mobilities in the form of a career change – it becomes clear that international physical mobility is no longer key. Nevertheless, Filipino nurses continue to provide care in global contexts in novel ‘therapeutic’ industries and doing so allows them to increase their socioeconomic mobility.
We investigate the notion of therapeutic mobilities through the case study of transnational health care practices and medicinal flows within the Hmong diaspora between Laos and the U.S. Drawing upon narratives of traditional healers, pickers, and plant sellers, as well as a collection of postal registers, we highlight how therapeutic mobilities follow the routes of migration and organize the practices of healing among Hmong in receiving countries, particularly in the U.S. Through the different and multidirectional aspects of therapeutic mobilities, we illustrate how transnational healing touches upon questions of cultural identity within the Hmong diaspora. Therapeutic mobilities not only involve border-crossing, they also strengthen existing bonds within the Hmong diaspora. Similarly, herbal treatments not only achieve a therapeutic function, they also represent a range of meanings and values for patients. We explore the fabric of therapeutic mobilities through the prism of translocality and medical pluralism.