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How do digital technologies shape how people care for each other and, through that, who they are? This is a particularly pertinent question today, as technological innovation is on the rise while increasing migration is introducing vast distances among family members.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork with families of migrating nurses from Kerala, India, Calling Family explores how families tinker with smartphones and social media to establish what care at a distance could be and how it should be done to be considered good


Through the notion of transnational care collectives, this book uncovers the subtle workings of digital technologies on care across countries and continents when being physically together is not feasible.

Learn more about the project.

Calling Family was published in August 2023, Rutgers University Press.

Available open access soon!

"Caring is commonly an exercise in sensitive listening and empathic understanding, with particular attention to all that is not said. This book shows how a scholar can manifest care through their research, and thereby appreciate how carers enact care in their daily lives and their creative deployment of digital technologies in facilitating transnational care."
- Daniel Miller, coeditor of The Global Smartphone: Beyond a Youth Technology
"Calling Family innovatively combines the STS theoretical lens with anthropological sensitivity for social context. Through heartfelt storytelling, the reader is transported from the gardens of Kerala to the deserts of Oman, or takes a car ride across London via webcam. The author teases out the intricate influences of technologies on care and highlights the role of affect for transnational care collectives – the global assemblages of people and digital technologies through which families care at a distance."
Loretta Baldassar, coauthor of Families Caring Across Borders: Migrating, Ageing and Transnational Caregiving
"Written with great empathy, Calling Family is an extremely timely and original book that explores how everyday digital technologies have become essential for caring relations across distance and how eldercare within such transnational care collectives is transformed."
- Monika Palmberger, coeditor of Care across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration

Book chapters

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2023  Ahlin, Tanja. Care at a Distance: Digital Technologies and Ageing in Transnational Families.

2020  Ahlin, Tanja. Eldercare at a Distance: On Remittances and Everyday Information

and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in

Indian Transnational Families.

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2022  Ahlin Tanja. The unseen care work of nurses from Kerala. 

2021 Cabalquinto, Earvin Charles, and Tanja Ahlin.

Care within or out of reach: fantasies of care and connectivity in the time

of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2018 Ahlin, Tanja. 

Intergenerational reciprocity in Indian transnational families.

2016  Ahlin, Tanja. 

E-care in Kerala.

Peer-reviewed articles

2024   Van Voorst, Roanne, and Tanja Ahlin. Key points for an ethnography of AI: an approach towards                           crucial data. Nature: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 11, 337.

2023   Cabalquinto, Earvin, and Tanja Ahlin. Researching (im)mobile lives during a lockdown:

           Reconceptualising remote interviews as a field events. International Journal of Cultural Studies   


2023   Ahlin, Tanja, and Anja Hiddinga. Technological socialities: How communication technologies shape

belonging among deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Sociology Compass e13068: 1-16.

2020   Ahlin, Tanja, and Kasturi Sen. Shifting duties: Enacting 'good daughters' through elder care

practices in transnational families from Kerala, South India. Gender, Place and Culture 27(10): 1395-1414.


2019   Ahlin, Tanja, and Fangfang Li. From Field Sites to Field Events: Creating the Field with

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Medicine, Anthropology, Theory 6(2): 1-24.


2018   Ahlin, Tanja. Frequent Callers: “Good Care” with ICTs in Indian Transnational Families. Medical 

Anthropology 39(1): 69-82. See video abstract.

2018   Ahlin, Tanja. What keeps Maya from eating? A case study of disordered eating from North

India. Transcultural Psychiatry 55(4): 551-571.


2018   Ahlin, Tanja. Only Near Is Dear? Doing Elderly Care with Everyday ICTs in Indian Transnational

           Families. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 32(1):  85-102,


2016   Ahlin, Tanja, Mark Nichter and Gopukrishnan Pillai. Health insurance in India: What do we know

and why is ethnographic research needed. Anthropology & Medicine 23(1): 102-124.


2015   Manderson, Lenore, Mark Davis, Chip Colwell and Tanja Ahlin. On Secrecy, Disclosure, the Public,

and the Private in Anthropology: An Introduction to Supplement 12. Current Anthropology 56(Supplement 12): S183-S190.


2013   Ahlin, Tanja. Prehajanje praks zdravljenja in z zdravjem povezanih konceptov med kulturami in

kontinenti: Joga v Evropi, anoreksija v Aziji (The Travelling of Healing Practices and Health-Related Concepts across Cultures and Continents: Yoga in Europe, Anorexia in Asia). Glasnik SED 53(1-2): 25-31.


2012   Ahlin, Tanja. Of Food and Friendship: The Methods to Understanding Eating Disorders in India.

Medisch Anthropologie 24(1): 41-56.


2011    Ahlin, Tanja. Technology and Cultural (R)evolution: Can Telemedicine Give Power to the Patients?

Curare 34(3): 165-172.

Translations (selection)

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2015     Mary Oliver: Zakaj se zbujam zgodaj (Why I Wake Up Early). Nova lirika. Ljubljana: Mladinska založba.

2011     Carr, Nicholas: Plitvine: Kako internet vpliva na naše možgane (The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains). Ljubljana, Cankarjeva založba.

2009     Anderson, Chris: Dolgi rep (The Long Tail). Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

2011     Armbrecht, Ann: Ožine: Romanje domov (Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home). Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.


2009     Drolma, Ani Choying: Moj glas za svobodo (My voix pour la liberté), in collaboration with Katarina Draškovič.  Tržič: Učila International.

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2010     Jullien, Francois: Hvalnica pustosti

(L’eloge de la fadeur).

Ljubljana: Študentska založba.

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