Background The paper discusses how the Filipina diaspora in Denmark maintain their transnational ties, done through a variety of transnational circulation involving people, capital, goods and information to and from the Philippines (Okamura, 2006) and how they manage to sustain their cultural identities despite their direct exposure to a different culture. These transnational activities include frequent visits to the homeland, remittances and consumer items sent to relatives through the “balikbayan” box, and international telecommunication that allows information exchange to and from the diaspora. These social processes represent how the Filipina diaspora is socially constructed through transnational movements and how the cultural identity is kept in the process. Objectives This study aims to document the experiences of Filipina diasporic life in Denmark, as shaped by trans-nationalization and cultural identity formation. It seeks to find out how the Filipina diaspora is imagined through various transnational movements of people, capital, goods and information to and from the homeland (Okamura, 2006) and if these movements have served as the agency in keeping their cultural identities. It further investigates certain widespread assumptions on the relationship between globalization, trans-nationalization and cultural identities. Moreover, it aims to determine if the characteristics of the Filipino diaspora, as described by the studies of Espiritu (2003) and Ignacio (2006) in the United States; would generate similar findings from their counterparts in Denmark. Methodology The information in this study came primarily from in-depth interviews of five Filipina women: Alma, Althea, Cherrylyn, Imelda and Leonida. During the interviews, the author observed each respondent’s behavior and mannerisms. The overall context with which the interviews were conducted like the setting and the atmosphere, were also taken into consideration. The interviews were then analyzed using narrative analysis. Common threads were used to explore how the Filipina cultural identity is articulated and validated and how these manifest in their transactional activities and cultural identity formation. Results It was found out that the respondents share a common history of migration; their stay in Denmark is brought about by their marriage to a Dane. On their perceptions of a cultural identity, the common thread is that in general, Filipinos are flexible. All of them agree that this flexibility, brought about by the colonial experiences under Spain, the US and Japan have afforded them with flexibility and adaptability, making it easier to go through the process of assimilation and integration into any culture. All the women spoke longingly and lovingly of their lives in the Philippines and wish to return home more often. For these Filipinas, maintaining stronger transnational ties remains important. The expensive travel costs, busy work schedules, and household demands minimize their physical connections to the Philippines. For now, they retain transnational ties yet remain quite locally rooted, making do instead with short visits, which is often prompted by emergency situations such as death or illness in the family. The Filipinas have no wish to erase their country from their minds and hearts. On the contrary, they keep alive their ties to the Philippines by engaging in activities such as sending remittances, visiting their hometowns, and communicating with family members back home. In so doing, they confirm what Espiritu (2003) refers as an identity that is “less about rootedness, but more about routedness”. Conclusions The women used otherness and difference to measure themselves against the Danish people and their culture. The recurring theme in their conceptualization of Denmark is that it is extremely different from the Philippines. They have internalized a cultural definition of Filipino that is tied to the home and represented by a fixed profile of shared traits such as language, beliefs, traditions and values. Their invocation of family values, respect for other people, and generosity are all pointed critiques of what they perceive lacking in Denmark and its people. Their common experiences in Denmark, living arrangements, leisure activities, house hold responsibilities (of being wives and mothers); have allowed them to form a community based on “shared lives” (Espiritu 2003) regardless of their regional and class backgrounds. All of them are culturally grounded because they have lived in the Philippines for a significant period of years prior to their migration to Denmark.
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|Titolo:||The Filipina Diaspora: Transnational Ties and Cultural Identities|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||04d Abstract in atti di convegno|