Beyond stereotypes: human subjectivity in the structuring of global migrations

Aguilar, Filomeno V. (2002) Beyond stereotypes: human subjectivity in the structuring of global migrations. In: Aguilar, Filomeno V., (ed.) Filipinos in Global Migrations: at home in the world? Philippine Migration Research Network and Philippine Social Science Council, Quezon City, Philippines, pp. 1-36.

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[Extract] ALL THE ESSAYS in this collection have been previously published in international journals. Because usually these journals are not easily available in the Philippines, the aim of bringing these papers under one cover is to make them readily accessible to a Philippine readership. In this way, research on Filipino and Filipina migrants can return, as it were, to the originating point.

As journal articles, most of these papers were accompanied by abstracts when they first saw print. These abstracts have been retained, and where originally none was available new abstracts were kindly provided by the authors. Although this anthology may appear somewhat odd in that each chapter begins with an abstract as if it were a journal, readers may find these abstracts useful in helping them navigate through this collection and choose the sequence by which to engage with these papers. Because these articles discuss many overlapping issues, they could be arranged and presented in a number of different ways. As compiler and editor, I have had to decide on the classification and succession of papers, and the outcome as found in this book should be taken as basically suggestive and provisional. The reader, needless to say, is free to start anywhere.

In this Introduction, certain themes and issues arising from the studies compiled in this volume are highlighted, without by any means exhausting the abundance of data and insight they contain, and without meaning to survey all the theoretical perspectives on international migration. This introductory chapter sketches out the historical complexity of formal and informal structures and networks of migration, and scans the landscape of social, economic, and political forces that determine migration streams and flows. At the same time, the migrant is seen not as a passive victim of structures, but as one with human agency and subjectivity who is able to navigate through and negotiate with formidable structural forces. By acting out their human potentials within given constraints, migrants participate in restructuring migration practices over time. At the personal level, the process of the individual migrant's transformation is amplified, along with the multifarious means by which personal, gender, and national identities are challenged, reconfigured, and asserted. To laud migration as if it were an extraordinary human activity is not the goal, but rather to suggest ways of understanding the possibilities and complexities opened up by contemporary migrations and the tensions and contradictions they accentuate and provoke in the migrant himself or herself, in the sending state and. society, in the receiving state and society, in various transnational links and intermediaries, and in the global system generally. The object is to suggest ways of understanding global migrations in the light of what this collection of studies raises as issues and questions of methodology, epistemology, ethics, and politics. A venues for further study and research are also indicated throughout this chapter. It is hoped that having these papers within one cover will spark further self-critical reflection by researchers, policymakers, migrants, and the wider reading public.

Item ID: 14373
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-971-8514-20-7
Keywords: global migrations; stereotypes
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Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2010 23:37
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210302 Asian History @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9403 International Relations > 940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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