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The Filipino Seafarer

A Life Between Sacrifice and Shopping

Gunnar M. Lamvik

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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Alex B. Brillantes and Maricel T. Fernandez

This article discusses how the Gawad Kalinga movement in the Philippines has operationalized good governance among its communities. This movement has not only provided opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between and among the three major governance actors, governments, business, and civil society, but more important, provided a framework for active citizen engagement in the process of improving their quality of life. Citizen participation is central not only in the theory of social quality but also in good governance. The paper argues argues that in order for reforms to be successful and sustainable, institutional reforms and active citizen engagement are necessary. These reforms are key to addressing some basic problems facing nations today, an alarming decline in trust in institutions and corruption. This paper is divided into three parts. The first part discusses good governance approaches and reform of public administration in relation to social quality theory. The second part discusses the tenets of citizenship and civil organization leadership within the context of good governance. The third part focuses on an emerging citizens’ movement in the Philippines—the Gawad Kalinga movement, which highlights the aspects of citizen engagement. The last part contains some concluding remarks drawn from the Gawad Kalinga experience as applied governance reform, and its implications for enhancing social quality.

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Repaying and Cherishing the Gift of Life

Gift Exchange and Living-related Kidney Transplantation in the Philippines

Yosuke Shimazono

This paper considers living-related kidney transplantation, especially that between family members in the Philippines. Drawing on the anthropological theory of gift, it explores two aspects of the gift relationship—the relationship between the donor and the recipient and the relationship between the recipient and the object—and describes two categories of acts—'acknowledging the debt/repaying the gift of life' and 'taking care of a kidney/cherishing the gift'. This paper seeks to show that there is an internal tension in live kidney transplantation between two rival principles of gift operative in the world of Filipino family and kinship: one akin to the Maussian or 'archaic' gift and the other that places cherishing of the gift over repaying of the debt.

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Michael D. Pante

A paradigm shift has occurred in the historiography of mobility in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the past decade. Many of the recent works deal with social history, such as accounts of transport workers and analyses of colonial modernity, and thus reveal the influence of the broader historiographical revolution that began in the 1970s. Slowly but surely, the history of mobility is carving out a discursive space for itself within the wider area of mobility studies, which, in the Philippines, has heretofore focused only on planning and policy.

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Forget Dawkins

Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt

Paul-François Tremlett and Fang-Long Shih

New Atheism is characterized by a binary logic that pits religion against science, belief against doubt, a pre-modern past against a modern present. It generates a temporal sensibility and attitude toward being modern that is a 'survival' of late-nineteenth-century anthropology, where religious belief and the past were bound together in opposition to science and the present. We analyze this binary logic and then, in response, present two ethnographic accounts—one from the Philippines, the other from Taiwan—to support our contention that religion is not just a matter of personal convictions. Rather, it is a public practice in which belief and doubt are constituted socially and dialogically.

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Adrian Albano, Els van Dongen and Shinya Takeda

The Philippines is one of the many countries that currently acknowledge the presence of indigenous peoples (IPs) within their territories. This acknowledgment often comes with a formal recognition of the rights of IPs, including the right to practice their customary laws. Because of the equal existence of overarching state laws, this formally leads to a situation of legal pluralism for IPs. For many forest conservation advocates, legal pluralism for IPs, particularly with regard to land ownership and forest management, is expected to help conserve forests. This expectation, however, is founded on the erroneous assumption that the traditional land use of IPs is nondestructive and that traditional land ownership is communal. Using a relatively long historical perspective, this article demonstrates that these assumptions do not apply to the Kalanguya of Tinoc, the Philippines. In contrast to the notion of IPs being market-averse, this article further demonstrates that many Kalanguya have been and remain “capitalists”. The article favors the inclusion of a market-based forest conservation policy, which is arguably consistent with the reality of value pluralism.

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James F. Eder

Degradation and reconfiguration of natural resources in coastal and upland Southeast Asia have set in motion a characteristic process of rural livelihood diversification with significant implications for gender roles and economic well-being. Drawing primarily on case material from the Philippines, this paper explores the transformations in household economies that have accompanied the search for more profitable and sustainable livelihoods and suggests how state and NGO interventions might encourage an entrepreneurial and economically desirable pattern of household-level diversification instead of a debilitating and wage-labor based pattern of individual-level diversification. These interventions include an expanded role for credit; skills training and related forms of support, particularly for women; protection of newly developing household enterprises from competition from large commercial operations; and more consensual and socially equitable forms of environmental governance.

Spanish La degradación y la reconfiguración de los recursos naturales en zonas costeras y tierras altas del sudeste asiático han impulsado un proceso particular de diversificación de los medios de vida rurales, con significativas consecuencias para los roles de género y el bienestar económico. A partir de una investigación realizada por el autor en las Filipinas, este trabajo explora las transformaciones de la economía de los hogares que han acompañado la búsqueda de medios de vida más rentables y sostenibles. Además, sugiere que las intervenciones del gobierno y de las ONG pueden fomentar un proceso de diversificación de ingresos en la economía de los hogares (household economies), emprendedor y económicamente deseable, en lugar de un modelo de diversificación individual debilitante basado en la relación entre salario y empleo. Estas intervenciones incluyen un rol ampliado de las formas de crédito, capacitacion y otras formas de apoyo, específicos para mujeres, protección de las nacientes empresas familiares frente a la competencia de grandes granjas comerciales, y formas de gobernanza medioambiental más consensuales y socialmente responsables.

French La dégradation et la reconfiguration des ressources naturelles sur les côtes et les hautes terres de l'Asie du Sud Est ont entamé un processus caractéristique de la diversification des moyens de subsistance en milieu rural, avec des implications considérables pour les rôles de genre et le bien-être économique. Se basant principalement sur des données venant des Philippines, cet article examine les transformations des revenus des ménages qui ont accompagné la recherche de moyens de subsistance plus durables et plus profitables. En outre, l'article suggère de quelle façon les interventions de l'État et des ONG peuvent encourager un modèle audacieux et économiquement souhaitable de diversification au niveau des ménages, au lieu d'un modèle de diversification au niveau de l'individu, débilitant et basé sur la relation salaire/travail. Ces interventions comprennent un rôle accru du crédit, des formations professionnelles et des formes de soutien apparentées (en particulier pour les femmes), la protection des entreprises des ménages tout juste en développement vis à vis de la compétition avec les grandes exploitations commerciales, ainsi que des formes de gouvernance environnementale plus consensuelles et socialement équitables.

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Alda Blanco

This article proposes that Madrid's Philippine Exhibition of 1887 should be read as a site of imperial consciousness that narrativized the waning Spanish Empire and where visitors were interpellated to perform empire. It also argues that the Exhibition was a complex cultural artefact which revealed the contradictory colonial discourses that intersected in it. The essay explores the Exhibition project as an attempt to modernize the antiquated colonial relations between Spain and her overseas colony by bringing knowledge of the colony to the metropole. The Exhibition's celebration of knowledge about the archipelago is discussed with particular regard to the paradoxes inherent in the ethnographic display of 'native' peoples.

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Translated Objects

The Olov Janse Case

Johan Hegardt and Anna Källén

This article explores the movements of archaeological and ethnographic objects and museum collections connected with the Swedish-born archaeologist and ethnographer Olov R. T. Janse (1892–1985). Janse pursued a cosmopolitan career in the years between 1920 and 1960, in and between the national contexts of Sweden, France, Indochina, the Philippines, and the United States, where he found himself in different political contexts such as colonialism, nationalism, and the Cold War. He initiated object exchanges between French and Swedish museums, and he collected archaeological and ethnographic objects from Indochina and the Philippines for museums in Sweden, France, and the United States. The complexity of object movements in the wake of Olov Janse's career suggests that we should think and talk about object mobility in terms of translation rather than simple transmission. In seven sections, each exploring one chapter of Janse's life, we discuss how changes in world politics became entangled with changes in Janse's own position as an archaeologist and ethnographer, affecting the movements of objects and contributing to an active translation of their meaning.

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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.