Accepted Paper:

From the Philippines to Denmark: strategies and tactics easing the transition  
Helena Patzer (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with the ways in which Filipinos in Denmark turn the situation of migration to their own benefit and learn to function in the new society. Once there, they must redefine many notions and reshape their relationships. This process can be either tactical or strategic in character.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with the ways in which Filipino immigrants in Denmark turn the often difficult situation of migration to their own benefit and learn to function in the new society. Once in Denmark, Filipinos must get accustomed to the unfamiliar environment - incomprehensible language, different people, new working conditions and duties, unwelcoming weather. The notions explaining the world have to be redefined, relationships reshaped, and learned behaviour changed.

When being in a well-known territory, like the Catholic Church, Filipinos resort to strategies learned still in the Philippines - engaging in the church service, forming prayer groups, spreading devotions to certain images. However, to domesticate the jungle of new symbols, they have to resort to tricks which can be called tactics - they have to figure out how to act in a particular situation by looking at what others do. The rules of the game have not been created by them, but they have to comply with them. Tactics are used mostly in everyday situations, at work, when dealing with Danish institutions, in personal contacts with Danes. The transnational connections of the Filipino immigrants are also tactical in character, and provide another way of dealing with the transition from one society to another.

That Filipinos are successful in adjusting to the Danish society can be seen in the fact that they are perceived as successful and even desirable foreigners in Denmark. They know how to make use of the stereotypical view of the immigrant from the Philippines. The Filipinos, and the Filipinas even more so, are said to be good-looking and well-integrating into the society.

Panel W070
Transitions: movements in space and time