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Accepted Paper:

The burdens of care: immobility, siblingship, and unequal responsibilities in the Central Philippines  
Resto Cruz (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

An account of immobility and stillness in relation to questions of power, gender, and hierarchy; examines the interrelationship between mobility and its absence in a context where mobility is both pervasive and valorised, and their consequences on persons and relations, particularly siblingship.

Paper long abstract:

If, as has been suggested in the past, movement and mobility are traditionally gendered routes to power, how might immobility figure in relation to power, gender, and hierarchy? How, too, might we grasp the interrelationship between mobility and its absence, particularly in contexts where mobility is both pervasive and valorised? And how might a consideration of this interrelationship yield insights on persons and relations? Drawing from a 14-month ethnographic study of memories of becoming middle class in the central Philippines, I seek in this paper to apprehend these questions from the perspective of siblingship, which has been characterised as central to social organisation and personhood in the region. I focus on the story of Tita Amy, the ninth in a brood of ten, who against her wishes was forced to stay behind and care for their mother and other elderly kin. As her siblings' mobility depended on Tita Amy's immobility, I examine how this dependence was articulated, recognised, and repaid. At the same time, I attend to the repercussions of immobility for Tita Amy's own aspirations and those of her children. I also foreground how becoming middle class, which in many ways was about crafting a different future, was interwoven with responsibilities and promises rooted in the past, and which came to be assigned to Tita Amy as a confluence of gender, generation, age order, and personal and familial histories. Finally, by examining immobility from within sibling relations, I consider how one may contest, but also live with, sibling inequalities.

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