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Generations of migration: schooling, youth & transnationalism in the Philippines

Martin, Christopher (2015) Generations of migration: schooling, youth & transnationalism in the Philippines. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The Philippines is one of the world’s largest ‘sending communities’ for international labour migrants, with roughly 10% of the population ‘absent’ due to emigrations associated with permanent relocation or short-term contract work. Anthropologists studying Filipino migrations have often focussed on the migrants themselves, and particularly their experiences of diaspora and transnationalism in the present; this thesis instead looks at the perspectives of those who remain in the Philippines, particularly the children and young people who are affected by labour migration, and who often consider working overseas as part of their own futures. The thesis investigates children’s and young people’s social lives in the province of Batangas, exploring their labour practices, kinship relations and, most importantly, their education and schooling. Findings are based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two educational institutions: a public secondary school in a small rural village, and a private vocational college in a larger ‘peri-urban’ town. Research was primarily conducted with children and young people who attended the school or college, as well as their teachers, families and communities. I argue that understandings of the purpose and practice of schooling have become thoroughly entwined with the transnational economies of labour migration and remittances. This process has generated or contributed to wide-ranging cultural vocabularies for talking about and acting on the future and the potential of young people, which encompass idioms pertaining to the moral value of children, concepts of movement and mobility, indebtedness across intergenerational relations, and the ‘domestication’ of external or foreign sources power. My conclusions contribute to anthropologies of childhood and youth, critical analysis of the articulation of schooling and labour, theories of global capitalism and transnationalism, and themes within the wider ethnographic study of the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Christopher A.T. Martin
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Supervisor: Cannell, Fenella and Allerton, Catherine

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