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Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Workers to the World

Colloquium with Prof. Robyn Rodriguez, Sociology, Rutgers University.

Friday, October 08, 2010
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
279 Haines Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This talk will draw from Professor Rodriguez's recently published book, Migrants for Export. Migrant workers from the Philippines are ubiquitous to global capitalism, with nearly 10 percent of the population employed in almost two hundred countries. In a visit to the United States in 2003, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo even referred to herself as not only the head of state but also “the CEO of a global Philippine enterprise of eight million Filipinos who live and work abroad.”

Rodriguez investigates how and why the Philippine government transformed itself into what she calls a labor brokerage state, which actively prepares, mobilizes, and regulates its citizens for migrant work abroad. Filipino men and women fill a range of jobs around the globe, including domestic work, construction, and engineering, and they have even worked in the Middle East to support U.S. military operations. At the same time, the state redefines nationalism to normalize its citizens to migration while fostering their ties to the Philippines. Those who leave the country to work and send their wages to their families at home are treated as new national heroes. Drawing on ethnographic research of the Philippine government’s migration bureaucracy, interviews, and archival work, Rodriguez presents a new analysis of neoliberal globalization and its consequences for nation-state formation.

Robyn Magalit Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. She researches and teaches in the following areas: globalization and development; political sociology; international migration; race, ethnicity and nationalism; gender; ethnographic methods. She is a faculty affiliate of the Department of Women and Gender Studies and has been part of faculty-student initiatives to increase the visibility Asian American scholarship at Rutgers. Her recent book, Migrants for Export (2010, University of Minnesota Press) examine how the Philippine state has emerged as one of the largest labor exporting countries in the world. Her publications on Philippine migration and Filipino migrant transnationalism has appeared in the journals Citizenship Studies, Signs, and the Peace Review as well as several edited anthologies. She is currently working on a second book project tentatively titled, In Lady Liberty's Shadow: Race, Immigration and Belonging in New Jersey after 9/11.

Sponsored by the UCLA Migration Study Group, Dept. of Asian American Studies, and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

Cost : Free and open to the public.


Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Asian American Studies Center, Sociology

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