FILIPINA “SERVANTS” RESISTING GLOBALIZATION: Agency and Representation in Migrant Women’s Narratives
Nearly ten million Filipinos, mostly women domestics, now comprise the expanding Filipino diaspora of migrant workers all over the world. This is a historical phenomenon of unprecedented proportions. How did this happen? Once a leader in industrial development in Asia in the fifties, the Philippines today is arguably the most economically backward and depressed society in the region, with over 75% of 84 million Filipinos suffering incredible poverty, victimized by successive tsunamis of imperialist violence and exploitation since formal independence in 1946. Filipinos have now acquired the reputation and status of “servants of globalization.” Are these Overseas Filipino Workers (as they are officially designated) simply victims, or are they also agents of their own self-emancipation? I would like to explore the actualities and possibilities of their existential and historical situation in the hope of countering the fatalism and compensatory self-delusion that vitiates government apologias and World Bank/IMF propaganda.
Background to Dislocation