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Accepted Paper:

Circulation and mobility in Filipino migrants' disaster response  
Karina Dalgas (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

Circulation and mobility in Filipino migrants’ disaster response. Focusing on obligations, exchange and solidarity in personal relief networks, it is suggested that local forms of organizing in situations of limited state intervention serves fruitful for intra-regional comparison.

Paper long abstract:

Migration and disasters are central features in Southeast Asia. Both display the region's economic heterogeneity and shape local socio-cultural practices. Migration, for example, is a central aspect of Philippine village life. This presentation explores Filipino migrants' response to the Bohol earthquake of 2013. It employs the lenses of circulation and mobility, in terms of circulations of favors, obligations and the movements of people and goods. Disasters create an intensive transnationalism in which the migrants not only provide relief to an imagined community of co-nationals, but also make use of their social networks to transform donations into goods, and to distribute relief directly in their neighborhoods of origin. These relief channels entail various forms of solidarity and exchange, and work outside the realm of formal institutions and humanitarian organizations. This externalized aspect of relief derives from the character of the personal network ties that both oblige the migrants to intervene and make the interventions possible. However, in the long-term recovery process private relief networks also become necessitated by the fact that migrant sending households often are exempt from receiving reconstruction aid from the Philippine state and humanitarian organizations.

The circulation of goods tied to migrants' role in disaster response thus becomes an example on the various forms of organizing from below that grows in situations of limited state intervention. I suggest that such forms of organizing can prove fruitful for intra-regional comparison. The presentation is based on ethnographic fieldwork on Bohol and in Copenhagen.

Panel P062
Moving Southeast Asia: circulations, mobilities, and their contemporary entanglements
  Session 1