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Kerry D. Feldman and Lisa Henry

When engaged in doctoral research (1972) on urban squatter settlements in the Philippines, Feldman’s approach was guided by the pedagogy of Paulo Freire (2005[orig.1970]), which gratefully steered his behaviour away from the typical ‘Ugly American’ abroad in the world at the time (during the Vietnam War). Feldman became aware of the notions of ‘teacher-student’ and of ‘student-teacher’ primarily through his discussions with two Filipino doctors, Jess and Trini de la Paz (a husband and wife team), who organised a health education and training programme for volunteer participants from 12 squatter settlements in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao. They invited him to serve as a social science consultant for their project. They explained that their approach to health education and training was grounded in, and would always adhere to, Freire’s insistence that oppressed people should be viewed as teachers for anyone engaging in their instruction or assistance, requiring that their teachers also become their students in understanding or assisting their lives.

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’Tis but a Habit in an Unconsolidated Democracy

Habitual Voting, Political Alienation and Spectatorship

Anthony Lawrence A. Borja

The electoral process can be considered as one basic component of a democracy and for this reason one way to evaluate the progress of a democratisation project is by looking at the development of this civic practice in terms of both quantity (voter turnout) and quality (voters’ preferences). Focusing on the former, specifically the impact of political alienation on electoral participation as voter turnout this article will look at the challenges to democratisation posed by electoral politics. From the case of electoral participation in the Philippines, I ask the question: What is the relationship between political alienation and voter turnout in the context of the latter enjoying relatively high and sustained rates? Through a synthesis between the notions of political spectatorship, habitual voting and the learning approach towards analysing voter behaviour, I argue that electoral participation is a disempowered mode of participation resulting from the interdependence of sustained spectatorship and habitual voting.

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Resisting Fortress Europe

The everyday politics of female transnational migrants

Elisabetta Zontini

This article considers the political engagement used by Moroccan and Filipino women in Southern Europe. It argues that immigrant women should be seen as active subjects rather than passive victims who accept subordinate roles both in their families and in the societies where they have settled. In order to appreciate the kind of political agency migrant women deploy, the article suggests two preliminary steps: extending the definition of the political so as to incorporate power and inequalities beyond political institutions, and adopting a transnational perspective so as to include the social fields encompassing more than one country in which these women operate. The article goes on to describe the different ways in which the two groups of women negotiate their citizenship rights in Southern Europe, focusing especially on how they negotiate entrance and rights to settle and how they try to improve their living and working conditions.

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Penny McCall Howard

This article examines the "power and the pain of class relations" (Ortner 2006) through the experience of Scottish men working in the global shipping, offshore oil, and fishing industries: industries in which the nationality of workers has changed significantly since the 1980s. It combines recent anthropological literature on subjectivity and cosmopolitanism with a Marxist understanding of class as generated through differing relationships to production. The article describes how British seafarers have experienced the cosmopolitanization of their workplaces, as workers from Portugal, Eastern Europe, and the Philippines have been recruited by employers in order to reduce wages, working conditions, and trade union organization. Drawing on Therborn (1980), it concludes that the experiences gained through this process have led to the development of multiple and often contradictory subjectivities, which people draw on as they choose how to act in moments of crisis, and as they imagine possible futures.

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Pauline Gardiner Barber

This article addresses the politics of class, culture, and complicity associated with Philippine gendered-labor export. Several examples drawn from multisited ethnographic research explore two faces of class: migrant performances of subordination contrasted with militancy in the labor diaspora. With few exceptions, the literature on Philippine women in domestic service has emphasized disciplined subjectivities, the everyday dialectics of subordination. But class is also represented in these same relationships, understandings, and actions. Alternatively, the political expressions of Philippine overseas workers, and their supporters, is a feature of Philippine migration that is not often mentioned in writing concerned with migrant inequalities. This article proposes a reconciliation of these two faces of class expression by exploring how new media, primarily cell-phone technologies, enhance possibilities for organized and personal resistance by Filipino migrants, even as they facilitate migrant acquiescence, linked here to gendered subordination and class complicity, in the contentious reproduction of the migrant labor force.