The Filipino Seafarer

A Life Between Sacrifice and Shopping

in Anthropology in Action

The central theme in this article is a highlighting of the way in which the life of the Filipino seafarer continues to be interwoven with that of his family. The seafarers are portrayed as products of and for their families, both in the sense that the family appears as the major motive for leaving and that close kin o en play an intrinsic role as facilitators for the actual departure. Also the extensive and complex financial contribution of the seafarer towards his family, together with certain extraordinary knowledge obtained through his occupation find their place in the outline of the Filipino seafarer as a family-based enterprise.

The article also contains a brief theoretical outline of the labour migration phenomenon, besides a discussion of the coping aspect in a seafaring profession. Life at sea is portrayed as a highly repetitive and deprived universe, which demands the use of certain coping strategies in order to make daily life appear meaningful for the seamen. Crucial in the seafarers' struggle for significance lie metaphor and the gift.

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Anthropology in Action

Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice

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