Towards professionalism through social networks: constructing an occupational community via Facebook usage by temporary migrant workers from the Philippines

Oren Golan, Deby Babis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social networking sites (SNSs) have restructured the ways that workers reflect on their occupational identity and work to elevate its prestige and social status. In this study, we investigate Facebook activities of Filipino temporary migrant workers employed as caregivers in Israel and instead of cultural or leisure communal and SNS activities, this study aims to focus on migrant workers’ daily occupation, questioning: How do SNS expressions shape and co-create an occupational community of temporary migrant workers? Through an extensive methodology that incorporates over 800 Facebook posts and supported by an extensive ethnographic research, the study uncovers four facets of communication that relate to caregiver work: utility, care, emotive and legal. These facets are then related to the construction of symbolic knowledge, accountability, expressivity, responsibility (ethics) and developing know-how. Thus, SNSs are found to provide a powerful platform for marginalized occupations and communities, to foster preliminary forms of (semi)professionalism, and gain social recognition from within their community and beyond. Hence, the study elucidates unintended impacts of grassrooted online self-educating communities and demonstrates their potential for evoking change in self-image and occupational identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1230-1252
Number of pages23
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - 29 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support from the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation [Grant Number 1716/12]. The authors wish to commemorate Ms. Betsy Benjaminson. Betsy was an exceptional woman and has worked with us for several years as a language editor on this manuscript and many others. She will be dearly missed. We offer our special thanks to the editors and anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. In addition, deep gratitude is offered to Ori Eyal for his sharp remarks on earlier junctures of this study. We are also indebted to Aarif Badarny for his reflective aid with this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Social networking
  • labor
  • migrant workers
  • migration
  • professionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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