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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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From philanthropy to impact investing

The case of Luxembourg

Shirlita Espinosa

English abstract:

This article analyzes diaspora philanthropy by Filipino migrants in Luxembourg. It shows the evolution of migrant organizations’ established philanthropic practices as reflected in the history and profile of Filipino immigration to Luxembourg. Recently, however, direct remittances have been challenged by the philanthro-capitalist orientation of Meso Impact Finance, securing capital investment for small enterprises. Luxembourg’s impact investing in the Philippines is a result of intersecting social forces: dominance of migration-development discourse, ideological appeal of philanthro-capitalism, strong financial institutions in Luxembourg, and the tight-knit Filipino community. However, traditional philanthropy remains popular despite the undermining of direct, non-profit remittances of migrants as shortsighted, unsustainable development tool. It remains to be seen whether Meso Impact Finance will gain a stronger hold in the market and replace direct philanthropic remittances.

Spanish abstract:

Este artículo analiza la filantropía de la diáspora realizada por inmigrantes filipinos en Luxemburgo. Usando métodos etnográfi cos se muestra la evolución de las prácticas filantrópicas establecidas por las organizaciones de migrantes y como éstas se refl ejan en la historia y el perfi l de la inmigración filipina a Luxemburgo. Recientemente, las remesas directas han sido cuestionadas por la orientación filantro-capitalista de meso impacto financiero, asegurando inversiones de capital para pequeñas empresas. No obstante, la filantropía tradicional sigue siendo popular a pesar del debilitamiento de las remesas directas y sin fines de lucro de los migrantes, como una herramienta de corta visión, insostenible e irracional. Queda por observarse si el meso impacto financiero obtendrá un mayor control en el mercado y reemplazará las remesas filantrópicas directas.

French abstract:

Cet article présente des données ethnographiques et des analyses critiques liées à la philanthropie de la diaspora philippine au Luxembourg. Il montre que l’évolution des organisations migrantes établit des pratiques philanthropiques comme le reflètent l’histoire et le profil de l’immigration philippine au Luxembourg. Récemment cependant les transferts d’argent directs ont été concurrencés par l’orientation philantrocapitalistique de la mésofinance à impact social qui sécurise l’investissement de capitaux pour les petites entreprises. Pourtant, malgré l’ébranlement des transferts d’argent directs et non-lucratifs des migrants comme outil de développement à court terme et non pérenne la philanthropie traditionnelle reste populaire. Il reste à voir si la mésofinance à impact social gagnera un ancrage plus fort sur les marchés et si elle remplacera les transferts d’argent philanthropiques directs.

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Negotiating between Shi’a and Catholic Rituals in Iran

A Case Study of Filipina Converts and Their Adult Children

Ashraf Zahedi

Religious rituals, while comforting for believers, may be uncomfortable for those who do not share their manifold meanings. Catholic Filipinas who marry Muslim Iranian men face mandatory conversion to Islam, necessitating ongoing negotiations between Christianity and Islam. My research suggests that these Filipinas held their first religion dear while participating in – for them – unpleasant Shi’a Muslims rituals. Their Filipino/Iranian children, familiar from birth with Shi’a Islam, felt at home with both religions, no matter which one they chose for themselves. The discussion of converts’ perceptions of Shi’a rituals contributes to the literature on transnational marriages and marriage migration.

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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.