Migration Revolution: Philippine Nationhood and Class Relations in a Globalized Age

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By Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr.

Since the 1960s, overseas migration has become a major factor in the economy of the Philippines. It has also profoundly influenced the sense of nationhood of both migrants and nonmigrants. Migrant workers learned to view their home country as part of a plural world of nations, and they shaped a new sort of Filipino identity while appropriating the modernity of the outside world, where at least for a while they operated as insiders.

The global nomadism of Filipino workers brought about some fundamental reorientations. It revolutionized Philippine society, reignited a sense of nationhood, imposed new demands on the state, reconfigured the class structure, and transnationalized class and other social relations, even as it deterritorialized the state and impacted the destinations of migrant workers.

Philippine foreign policy now takes surprising turns in consideration of migrant workers and Filipinos living abroad. Many tertiary education institutions aim deliberately at the overseas employability of local graduates. And the “Fil-foreign” offsprings of unions with partners from other nationalities add a new inflection to Filipino identity.

“Aguilar marshals a wealth of theoretical and empirical insights: statistics, interviews, archival documents, and various research on Filipino migrants in Italy, Japan, Australia, Singapore, the Middle East, and the United States.” - Janus Nolasco
“…Aguilar’s writing stands as some of the most theoretically rich and insightful work on the implications of contemporary Filipino migrations, and these essays are necessary starting points for future explorations of such issues…all of the essays are elegantly written and convincing.” - Philip Kelly

"A singular achievement of this well-organized work is it’s synthesizing of the many strands arising from the profound changes that followed from the massive emigration of Filipinos... Migration Revolution is a major introductory text to deepen their understanding of the complicated relationship between migration and nationalism." - Fiona-Katharina Seiger

Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr. is Dean, School of Social Sciences at the Ateneo de Manila University.


Kyoto CSEAS Series on Asian Studies 11
Publication Year: 2014
312 pages, 229mm x 152mm 
ISBN: 978-9971-69-781-5, Paperback

NUS Press and Kyoto University Press