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Department of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Phone number: 01865 483963
Location: GIP Gibbs G4.28
Women Who Stay addresses the question of how women married to seafarers are shaped by migration and how they in turn shape migration. Looking at subjectivity as social becoming, it examines how Ilokano, Philippine, and global historical and economic processes have shaped the women’s lives and experiences. While offering a culturally nuanced account of how women in an Ilocos town have navigated the spaces and times of their lives, the book also engages with broader social issues and concepts making it of interest to scholars and students of gender, migration, family, subjectivity, and the global maritime industry.
The Promise of the Nation examines the construction of the nation in contemporary Ilokano literature in the intersections of gender, history, and nationalism by tracking its political, material, and socio-cultural connections and intervention in Philippine socio-political discourse, history, and historiography. It attends to and addresses the limitations, contradictions, and potential constituting Ilokano writers’ efforts to (re)make a Filipino nation, efforts made in the context of Spanish and American imperialism, neocolonialism, martial law, militarization, urban squatting, patriarchy, migrant work, and the marginalization of ethnic peoples. Finally, the book argues that the writer' project of realizing what Caroline Hau has evocatively called the nation's “promise of community” may be more powerfully imagined and grasped were nationalism transformed by feminism.
To get a job as a seafarer in the global maritime industry, thousands of male Filipino youths work for free as ‘utility men’ for manning agencies that supply seafarers to ship operators around the world. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and approached from a moral economy perspective, this article examines how manning agencies and utility men differentially rationalize this exploitative work (utility manning). Manning agencies use it as a technology of servitude that, through physical and verbal abuse and other techniques, enforces docility to prepare utility men for the harsher conditions on-board a ship. In contrast, utility men use it as a technology of imagination, gleaning from it a capacity to shape their future. Faced with few social possibilities in the Philippines, they deploy servitude as a strategy for attaining economic mobility and male adulthood.
This article examines how young Filipino men looking to work in international seafaring deploy servitude as a means of attaining education-to-work transition. It focuses on those applying to work for free as ‘utility men’ (gofer or flunkey) in Manila’s manning and crewing agencies that supply seafarers to ship operators around the world in exchange for the promise of boarding a ship. Based on participant observation and life history interviews, the article accounts for how they transform their servitude into diskarte – strategy by which they navigate the limited employment opportunities in the Philippines – by constructing their ‘utility manning’ as an informal and negotiated pathway to employment. The young Filipino men’s seeking and enduring servitude, geared towards gleaning better social possibilities, becomes a profoundly rational act of investing in and securing their future.
Research on the impact of male emigration on stay-behind wives shows that gossip, which transnational migration intensifies, surveils the women’s morality and constricts their mobility. Based on semi-structured interviews supplemented by field observations, this article examines the impact of gossip on the lives and experiences of stay-behind Filipino seafarer wives. First, it looks into how the women negotiated an environment in which their morality became dominated by the need to keep their reputation as faithful wives intact. As women whose husbands were away for long periods of time, they were seen as being ‘like parched earth in need of rain’ and therefore susceptible to temptation and seduction. Second, it examines how through dibersyon – activities that translated work into recreation – they counteracted the constricting effects of gossip on their mobility without compromising their perceived morality. The article concludes with a reflection on the contradiction the women’s negotiation of gossip creates: they inadvertently help to maintain gendered conceptions of morality and mobility while simultaneously working around the gender ideological and normative boundaries gossip enforces.
Research on mother- and daughter-in-law relationships has primarily focused on the conflict between the two. This article highlights the empowering potential of daughters-in-law of this problematic relationship by examining the struggle of Filipino seafarers' wives to exercise agency and achieve autonomy in the context of living with their mothers-in-law. Drawing on in-depth semi-structured interviews, it analyses the women's project for autonomy within kinship, that is, an autonomy deeply embedded in intersubjective relations through the conceptualisation of kinship as 'cultures of relatedness', which explicitly attends to the negative aspects of kinship. Three dimensions of their experiences are discussed: breaking their silence/talking back; becoming their husband's designated recipient of their remittances; and having their own house. Their experiences demonstrate the importance of retaining normativity in the conceptualisation of kinship as relatedness.
This article reflects on the epistemological, methodological, and ethical issues related to undertaking a cross-gender research (male researcher with female participants) in one's own community. It also examines issues of analysis and representation germane to taking a gendered perspective in this study of the lives and experiences of left-behind women. The article frames the discussion of these issues within four interrelated sites or levels of reflexivity: theoretical reflexivity, gender and fieldwork relations, positionality and the insider/outsider dynamic, and representation. The conclusion reflects on the ethical obligation a researcher conducting a study in one's own community bears and the consequences of this ethical burden on representation.
Discussions of a culture of migration in the Philippines present it to mean a predisposition to migrate and focus on the migrants. Through the prism of the experiences of seamen’s wives in an Ilocos town, experiences narrated through interviews, this article aims to cut a conceptual space in which to examine the relationship between left-behind women and the culture of migration. Examining the women’s persistent references to settlement migration to Hawaii against which their husband’s labor migration as seafarers is compared, this article provides a discussion of a culture of migration among Ilocanos that has been vitally shaped by the socio-economic possibilities brought about by Ilocano migration to Hawaii beginning in the early 20th century. Consequently, it offers historical and cultural specificity to scholarly discussions of the Philippines’ culture of migration, which remains pitched at the national level.
Seamen’s wives know absence very well. Their lives are striated by it. Based on interviews with seamen’s wives conducted in Ilocos Norte, this article investigates the communicative practices obtaining amid absence and separation, and the wives’ activities that bring their husbands home and bring “home” to their husbands. It examines how new communication technologies, particularly the cellphone, have engendered new ways of becoming present and intimate. For seamen’s families, cellphone-mediated intimacy creates a space of imagined communion, which becomes the locus of the reproduction of family and affective ties and is itself the result of these emotional and material activities.
Like many Ilokano writers, poet-fictionist Herman Garcia Tabin has never made his position on the Marcos dictatorship known. His works, which were written in the early 1980s and bound with the conditions produced by the regime, do not explicitly denounce Marcos's regime. However, they may be read as critiquing the social reality engendered by the dictatorship. Through a rhythmanalysis that implicates the constitutive role of the state and capital, this article examines depictions of life experiences of Metro Manila's impoverished people in Tabin's works. Tracing and following Tabin's moves and movements provide clues to that which he has neither publicly avowed nor disavowed.
Most theories of nation and state have excluded gender as an analytic
category. This article will demonstrate how the nation and the state are
gendered. It will examine how nation and gender are shaped by capitalist
and patriarchal structures, two powerful ideologies that impact the state.
Analyzing an Iluko novel which constructs in the context of urban squatting
the nation as a social space, the article will detail how it is impacted by the
state, by class and gender, and how people and identities as well as the social
and political spaces they inhabit are classed and gendered. It will locate
these classed and gendered identities and spaces in the class struggle for the
nation as well as in the conflict that exists between the nation and state. The
article therefore will illustrate how nation, state, class, and gender are
inextricably bound up.
Nationalism has proven to be male-biased and this is evident in its tendency to image the nation as woman/mother in language, It has conveniently placed women where it is almost completely nowhere to be read, dismembered from the national body and denied agency and meaningful participation, When written of, women are assigned to the concepts of nation and mother as is the case of "Inang Bayan," In this nation, the citizen is male and the state masculine. Consequently, the experience of a nation in the context of colonialism and imperialism is semanticized as rape which further reinforces the gendering of the nation as woman, Through poetry, Hermilinda Ungbaoan-Bulong creates spaces for women in the narrative that is nationalism, In "Madre Abre" and "Baro a Kaputotan," Ungbaoan-Bulong's feminized territory represents ethnicity belonging to a wider community or territory, She encourages women to remember their own strength, their own capacity, their place in the pages of history and reminds them that they are daughters of freedom fighter Gabriela Silang in "Agtnangka, Babai," In reconstructing the family as a unit wherein there are no subordinates; she rescues the domesticity of women in the home where she rules a "queendom" bereft of power and authority, In "Maria Filipina," the commodified overseas contract workers (OCW) more popularly known as the Japayuki are "beings-for-others" responsible for saving the country from economic ruin on a regular basis, By locating women in specific historical, political, cultural, social and economic processes, Lingbaoan-Bulong elevates the nationalistically marginalized Filipino women to agents of social and national transformation.
The protests against Marcos’ burial in the Libingan and historical revisionism in favor of Marcos testify to the necessity of a continued struggle over history and memory