Accepted paper:

Deterritorialized funeral fund-raising as subaltern public sphere activities; a case of FSM migrants in Guam


Yasuyuki Karakita (Utsunomiya University)

Paper short abstract:

Deterritorialized funeral fund-raising activities for migrants, who passed away in their destination, will be depicted as the emergence of a subaltern public sphere, which connects the migrants and home, outer islands of Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia.

Paper long abstract:

This paper reports the emergence of a deterritorialized subaltern public sphere, which connects migrants in destination and home, outer islands of Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia. Since the Compact of Free Association between U.S. and FSM in 1986, migrants fluxed into U.S. The U.S. government agency warned the impact of the migration in the areas of labor market, education and health, and asked for remedial measures against the migration. Countering these moves, some local agencies and NGO's emphasized the economic and cultural contributions by migrants to the host society. These are major fronts of argument about migrants in Guam. However, in this public arena, not so much attention is paid to activities of migrants themselves. The detailed ethnography reveals that fund-raising activities for trans-local funerals of migrants, who passed away in destination, are one of the main activities of migrant associations. Large amounts of money, which exceed annual per capita income at home, are raised through an elaborated network of relatives and island mates, and successive funeral ceremonies accompany a movement of deceased migrant toward home. These activities are not noticed in host societies. It will be argued that a deterritorialized public sphere is emerging, connecting migrants and home through the attention people pay to each other's body and life, while stereo-typical understandings and talks about migrants hide the existence of subaltern public sphere of migrants from FSM.

panel MMM31
The causes and diversity of migration processes (IUAES Commission on Migration and Diaspora)