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  Asia Pacific Migration Research Network

Filipinos in Global Migrations:
At home in the world?

Edited by: 
Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr.

Published by: 
Philippine Migration Research Network and
Philippine Social Science Council


In cooperation with: 
UNESCO-MOST

ISBN 971-8514-20-1
Contact information
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Preface

The labor migration of Filipinos since the 1970s coincided with a particular moment when international migration became truly global. Today their presence in over a hundred countries attests to the transformation of Filipino migrants into global workers.

The whys and wherefores of contemporary Filipino migrations have fascinated academics, resulting in a rich literature, some of which are not readily available in the country. Bringing together in this volume the writings by non-Filipino scholars or by those based outside the Philippines is also a homecoming of sorts which calls for a warm welcome: maligayang pagbalik! The Philippine Migration Research Network (PMRN), which supported this initiative, is pleased to see the project come to a successful completion. Together with PMRN, I would like to commend Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr. for his vision and dedication in bringing home this collection of thoughtful articles.

Published between 1986 and 2000, many articles in this volume endeavor to wed data with theory (and occasionally, data, theory and politics), thereby rendering an interpretive frame to the different facets of Filipino migrations. Although these articles were not specifically written to examine whether Filipinos are at home in the world, in different ways they provide some insights to the question—or at the least, invite further debates and questions.

In this time of intense globalization, it is quite easy to lose sight of the fact that migrants are actors, possessing agency to act upon opportunities and constraints around them. Max Frisch’s comment decades ago on the unintended consequence of the guest worker policy in Europe—"we called for workers and got human beings"—holds true in the continuing saga of labor migration in Asia. As we are witnessing in the region, international migration is more than the sum of formidable structural forces and processes. In particular, the (re)discovery of migrants’ humanity has unraveled the human and social costs of migration on the one hand, and its possibilities for transformations on the other. Both sides are part of the promises and perils of migration.

Our experiences as a country of origin have taught us, among others, that when we deploy overseas workers, we send out human beings, with all their potentials and vulnerabilities. Responding to the problems encountered by migrant workers and their families has prompted our institutions to reorient their ways of approaching these challenges. Receiving countries in the region also have to reckon with human beings, despite their intention to bring in migrant workers only. Limiting migrants’ rights has not kept migrants from expressing their humanity. Despite the conditions they find themselves in, or perhaps because of such conditions, they seek out other migrants, they build communities or alternative institutions, and some become settlers. Not a few resort to or are tricked into unauthorized channels, including traffickers, to get around migration regulations.

Through individual initiative or with the support provided by personal networks, government agencies or non-government organizations, Filipino migrants chip off the blocks of prejudice and discrimination to build a home wherever they are. In their search for work in the global market, Filipinos have reconfigured the home, with relationships (especially family ties, or family-like ties where there are none) rather than geography as the defining element of what the home and being at home mean. In the face of more migration in the future, perhaps we should also explore the other side of the question: how can the world be a welcoming and safer home for Filipinos and other migrants? That would be an interesting sequel to this volume and a change that is a long time coming for people on the move.

Maruja M.B. AsisMember, Philippine Migration Research Network (PMRN) Executive Committee and Scalabrini Migration Center


Acknowledgments

The editor, the Philippine Migration Research Network, and the Philippine Social Science Council wish to thank the following for permission to reprint copyright material:

"Situating Migrants in Theory: The Case of Filipino Migrant Contract Construction Workers" by Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham in Capital and Class no. 29 (1986), pp. 130-149, reprinted by permission of the authors; "Global Cities and Circuits of Global Labor: The Case of Manila, Philippines" by James A. Tyner in The Professional Geographer vol. 52, no. 1 (2000), pp. 61-74, by permission of the author and the publishers, copyright © 2000 Association of American Geographers; "Colonial Oppression, Labour Importation, and Group Formation: Filipinos in the United States" by Yen Le Espiritu in Ethnic and Racial Studies vol. 19, no. 1 (1996), pp. 29-48, by permission of the author and the publishers, copyright © 1996 Routledge;

"From Registered Nurse to Registered Nanny: Discursive Geographies of Filipina Domestic Workers in Vancouver, B.C." by Geraldine Pratt in Economic Geography vol. 75, no. 3 (1999), pp. 215-236, by permission of the author and the Department of Geography, Clark University; "The Intersection of Race, Ethnicity and Class: The Multiple Identities of Second-Generation Filipinos" by Yen Le Espiritu in Identities vol. 1, nos. 2-3 (1994), pp. 249-273, by permission of the author and Gordon and Breach Science Publishers S.A., copyright © 1994 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association); "Women Imagined, Women Imaging: Re/presentations of Filipinas in Japan since the 1980s" by Nobue Suzuki in U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal English Supplement No. 19 (2000), pp. 142-175, by permission of the author and the publishers, copyright © Center for Inter-Cultural Studies and Education, Josai University;

"Narratives of Masculinity and Transnational Migration: Filipino Workers in the Middle East" by Jane A. Margold, from Aihwa Ong and Michael G. Peletz (eds), Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia (1995), pp. 274-298, by permission of the author and the University of California Press; "Sexuality and Discipline Among Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong" by Nicole Constable in American Ethnologist vol. 24, no. 3 (1997), pp. 539-558, by permission of the author and the publishers, copyright © 1997 American Anthropological Association; "Domestic Bodies of the Philippines" by Neferti Xina Tadiar in Sojourn vol. 12, no. 2 (1997), pp. 153-191, by permission of the author and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS);

"Stress Factors and Mental Health Adjustment of Filipino Domestic Workers in Hong Kong" by Christopher Bagley, Susan Madrid and Floyd Bolitho in International Social Work vol. 40, no. 4 (1997), pp. 373-382, by permission of the principal author and the publishers, SAGE London; "Romancing Resistance and Resisting Romance: Ethnography and the Construction of Power in the Filipina Domestic Worker Community in Hong Kong" by Julian McAllister Groves and Kimberly A. Chang, by permission of the authors and SAGE Thousand Oaks, CA;

"Family Secrets: Transnational Struggles Among Children of Filipino Immigrants" by Diane L. Wolf in Sociological Perspectives vol. 40, no. 3 (1997), pp. 457-482, by permission of the author and the publishers, copyright © 1997 Pacific Sociological Association; "At Home but Not at Home: Filipina Narratives of Ambivalent Returns" by Nicole Constable in Cultural Anthropology vol. 14, no. 2 (1999), pp. 203-228, by permission of the author and the publishers, copyright © American Anthropological Association; and "Ritual Passage and the Reconstruction of Selfhood in International Labour Migration" by Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr. in Sojourn vol. 14, no. 1 (April 1999), pp. 98-139, by permission of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).

Most of the above texts have been reproduced in their entirety, but slight revisions made by some authors were incorporated and one abstract was abridged. The texts have also been emended to conform to a uniform style.

Every effort has been made to obtain permission to reproduce copyright material. All publishers were contacted, and every effort made to contact all the authors. If any proper acknowledgment has not been made, we would appreciate to be informed of the oversight so we can make the necessary arrangement at the first opportunity.

And now, some personal acknowledgments: To Marla Asis, for her kindness in rescuing this project from oblivion by helping find a publisher, for reading the Introduction and making crucial suggestions, and for writing the Preface despite her hectic schedule; to the PMRN Executive Committee, for generously agreeing to support this project and allocating precious funds to pay the copyright fees and defray the costs of production; to Jean Miralao, PSSC Executive Director, for her solid support for this project; to Lorna Makil, for wisely answering day-to-day questions that arise in the course of book production; to Claire Nuyda, for being the main pillar in seeing through this project, from the initial production stages, to copyediting, and all the way through to its final completion, cheerfully and unwearyingly ensuring that the innumerable e-mail messages related to this project were acted upon; to Cora Bolong, for friendly assistance in scanning copies of the original articles, despite her busy schedule; to Elvie Angeles, for patiently crafting the lay-out of every page of this book; to Gani Lachica, for lending his sharp eyes in helping proofread some chapters; to Monette Jimenez, for diligently handling the project accounts, especially the payment of copyright fees to a host of foreign publishers; to Ernie Acosta, for lending his assistance in many matters; to Ariel Manuel, for creatively designing the book cover; to Mila Tolentino, in anticipation of her enthusiastic promotion of this book; to Nap Juanillo, for facilitating the retrieval of some journal articles; to Carol Sy Hau, for lending me her copy of La Solidaridad which I needed to write the Introduction, which she also kindly and incisively read; to Nobue Suzuki, for sharing journal articles that have kept me abreast with the migration literature, and other collegial assistance; to Nicole Constable and Kimberly Chang, for special favors related to copyright permission; to the Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Kyoto University, for a Visiting Research Fellowship in the second half of 2001 which gave me much valuable time for the editorial work; to Jojo Abinales, for being a most supportive counterpart in Kyoto; and, certainly not the least, to my beloved Jua, faithful partner in the journey of life and adventurous companion in my many migratory moves, for incisively critiquing my work and meticulously doing a sizeable chunk of the editing, helping me avoid countless errors and raising the professional quality of this collection. May the Lord God return the numerous favors you graciously extended to me: Dios mabalos.


Notes on Contributors

Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr. (PhD, Cornell University) is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811 Australia. His research interests include peasant studies; the political economy and cultural analysis of sugar production on Negros island; overseas Filipinos and transnational migration; citizenship and ethnicities in Southeast Asia; and the discourse of migration waves in Philippine history. He is the author of Clash of Spirits: The History of Power and Sugar Planter Hegemony on a Visayan Island (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press; Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1998). In Australia, he teaches Southeast Asian history, but has also taught sociology at the National University of Singapore and Ateneo de Manila University. E-mail: hifva@jcu.edu.au

Christopher Bagley (PhD, University of Sussex) is Professor in Social Work Studies, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK. He has worked previously in Canada and Hong Kong. His specialist areas are child welfare and child abuse, and adolescent and adult mental health. He has a particular interest in coming out problems of gay adolescents. His interests in ethnicity include research on transracial and international adoptions. He continues to work with colleagues in Canada, Hong Kong, India and the Philippines on various aspects of social policy regarding youth adjustment and on migrant worker issues. E-mail: cb5@socsci.soton.ac.uk

Kimberly A. Chang (PhD, Syracuse University) is an Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Psychology in the School of Social Science, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 01002 USA. Her teaching and research interests include dilemmas of identity, place and belonging for migrant and diasporic people; women’s experiences of globalization and migration; Chinese identities and communities; and ethnographic, narrative and visual research methodologies. She has lived and worked in Hong Kong and China for nearly a decade, and previously taught at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. E-mail: kchang@hampshire.edu

Nicole Constable (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, 3H01 WWPH Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA. Her interests include the anthropology of work; ethnicity, nationalism, and history; gender, migration, and transnationalism; folklore; and ethnographic writing and power. She is the author of Christian Souls and Chinese Spirits: A Hakka Community in Hong Kong (University of California Press, 1994) and Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Filipina Workers (Cornell University Press, 1997). Her current research involves Chinese and Filipino immigrants to the US and US-Asian correspondence marriages. E-mail: constabl@pitt.edu

Yen Le Espiritu (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) is a Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093 USA. She is the author of Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities (Temple University Press, 1992), which received the 1994 Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in Social Science; Filipino American Lives (Temple University Press, 1995); and Asian American Women and Men: Labor, Laws, and Love (Sage, 1997), which received the 1998 American Sociological Association Asia/Asian America Section Book Award. Her current project (with Diane Wolf) compares Filipino and Vietnamese children of immigrants. E-mail: yespirit@weber.ucsd.edu

Katherine Gibson (PhD, Clark University) is a Professor in the Department of Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200 Australia. Her current research interests focus on poststructuralist critiques and reformulations of economic theory; anti-essentialist class analysis, with emphasis on gender and class; alternative economic development politics; and postmodern approaches to urbanism and city space. She is the author (with Julie Graham) of The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Blackwell Publishers, 1996). E-mail: katherine.gibson@anu.edu.au

Julie Graham (PhD, Clark University) is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences, Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA 01003-5820 USA. Her current research and teaching involve reevaluating economic concepts in the light of feminist and poststructuralist theory. She has a longstanding interest in class analysis, particularly as it intersects gender, subjectivity, politics, and noncapitalist class relations. Her latest research examines alternative economic activities and initiatives, and the politics of (re)distribution at enterprise/community levels. She is the author (with Katherine Gibson) of The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Blackwell Publishers, 1996). E-mail: graham@geo.umass.edu

Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham took the joint pen name of J. K. Gibson-Graham in 1992 to mark and celebrate their years of collaboration.

Julian McAllister Groves (PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) until recently was an Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China. He has taught courses on Hong Kong society, social theory, and qualitative research methods. He has also been involved in an ethnographic study of a public boys school in Hong Kong. He is author of Hearts and Minds: The Controversy over Laboratory Animals (Temple University Press, 1997). He is currently attending The Heatherley School of Fine Art in London. E-mail: juliangroves@hotmail.com

Jane A. Margold (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and Linguistics, Sonoma State University, Stevenson Hall, 1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928 USA. She has published on U.S. colonialism, and on labor, state violence and democratization in such journals as Journal of Historical Sociology, Urban Anthropology, Critique of Anthropology, and Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars. Based on more than three years of ethnographic research in the Philippines and in host countries, she is currently writing a book on the politics of Filipino migrant citizenship. E-mail: jmargold@ix.netcom.com

Geraldine Pratt (PhD, University of British Columbia) is a Professor in the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2 Canada. Her research interests focus on feminist geography, and on race, gender and labor market segregation. She is currently the editor of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. E-mail: gpratt@geog.ubc.ca

Nobue Suzuki is a PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii, Mânoa, 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA. She is completing her dissertation entitled, "Battlefields of Affection: Gender, Global Desires and the Politics of Intimacy in Filipina-Japanese Transnational Marriages." She inquires into "romanscape" and analyzes competing ideas about marriage and affective relationships as enacted and negotiated by individuals, families, and the state in Japan and in the Philippines. She is co-editor with James E. Roberson of Men and Masculinities in Contemporary Japan, forthcoming from Routledge. This volume contains her chapter, "Of Love and the Marriage Market," which investigates the experiences of the husbands of Filipinas. E-mail: nbszk@hawaii.edu

Neferti Xina M. Tadiar (PhD, Duke University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 USA. Her publications on contemporary Philippine culture and political economy appear in the journals differences, Millennium, Filipinas, Sojourn, Diliman Review, and Signs as well as in the anthologies, What’s In A Rim? (Westview Press), Discrepant Histories (Temple University Press), and The Geopolitics of Vision (Ateneo de Manila University Press). Her essay in this collection is part of a book manuscript entitled Fantasy-Production: Sexual Economies and Other Philippine Contributions to the New World Order. E-mail: nxtadiar@cats.ucsc.edu

James A. Tyner (PhD, University of Southern California) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242 USA. His research interests include international migration and policy, urban geography, social geography (especially gender, race and ethnicity), and Southeast Asia. He has published over thirty articles on the topic of migration. E-mail: jtyner@kent.edu

Diane L. Wolf (PhD, Cornell University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 USA. She is the author of Factory Daughters: Gender, Household, Dynamics, and Rural Industrialization in Java (University of California Press, 1992), which received the Jessie Bernard 1996 Book Award from the American Sociological Association, and editor of Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork (Westview, 1996). Her research interests include family and household studies, gender and development, fieldwork, immigration, Southeast and East Asia, and Jewish studies. Her current project (with Yen Le Espiritu) compares Filipino and Vietnamese children of immigrants. E-mail: dlwolf@ucdavis.edu


Table of Contents

TABLES AND FIGURES

PREFACE
Maruja M.B. Asis

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS

INTRODUCTION
Beyond Stereotypes: Human Subjectivity in the Structuring of Global Migrations
Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr.

I. STRUCTURES OF GLOBAL MIGRATION

  1. Situating Migrants in Theory: The Case of Filipino Migrant Contract Construction Workers
    Katherine Gibson and Julie Graham
  2. Global Cities and Circuits of Global Labor: The Case of Manila, Philippines
    James A. Tyner
  3. Colonial Oppression, Labor Importation, and Group Formation: Filipinos in the United States
    Yen Le Espiritu

II. HUMAN AGENCY AND MIGRANT IDENTITIES

  1. From Registered Nurse to Registered Nanny: Discursive Geographies of Filipina Domestic Workers in Vancouver, B.C.
    Geraldine Pratt
  2. The Intersection of Race, Ethnicity and Class: The Multiple Identities of Second-Generation Filipinos
    Yen Le Espiritu
  3. Women Imagined, Women Imaging: Re/presentations of Filipinas in Japan since the 1980s
    Nobue Suzuki

III. SUBJECTIVITIES AND SEXUALITIES IN CONTEXT

  1. Narratives of Masculinity and Transnational Migration: Filipino Workers in the Middle East
    Jane A. Margold
  2. Sexuality and Discipline Among Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
    Nicole Constable
  3. Domestic Bodies of the Philippines
    Neferti Xina M. Tadiar

IV. STRESS, RESISTANCE, AND METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES

  1. Stress Factors and Mental Health Adjustment of Filipino Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
    Christopher Bagley, Susan Madrid, and Floyd Bolitho
  2. Romancing Resistance and Resisting Romance: Ethnography and the Construction of Power in the Filipina Domestic Worker Community in Hong Kong
    Julian McAllister Groves and Kimberly A. Chang

V. THE SELF VIS-À-VIS FAMILY, HOME, AND RETURN

  1. Family Secrets: Transnational Struggles Among Children of Filipino Immigrants
    Diane L. Wolf
  2. At Home but Not at Home: Filipina Narratives of Ambivalent Returns
    Nicole Constable
  3. Ritual Passage and the Reconstruction of Selfhood in International Labor Migration
    Filomeno V. Aguilar, Jr.

For more information, or for purchasing the publication, please contact: 

The PMRN Executive Committee
Virginia A. Miralao
Philippine Social Science Center
UP Post Office Box 205
Diliman
Quezon City 1101
Philippines
Tel: +632 9292671 / 9229627
Fax: +632 9292602 9244178
E-mail: tsis.section@skyinet.net / pssc@skyinet.net


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