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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender and livelihood politics in Naga City, Philippines Hill, Kathryn Marie


This thesis examines how livelihood diversification is also a site in which gender relations are unsettled, maintained and (re)configured. With the aim of strengthening the links between feminist and agrarian change scholarship, I present ethnographic material from Naga, a medium-size city in Bicol, Philippines, to explore how daily discourses, practices and performances of livelihood change are instrumental in mapping ways of life that are gendered. In the first part of the thesis, attention is devoted to the inadequate, or at least outdated, attention to gender relations in previous models of livelihood change, and to spell out some of the implications its integration may bring. In the remaining part of the thesis my aim is to indicate how this integration should be achieved. Specifically, I highlight some of the problems stemming from ‘structural’ analyses of gender, and emphasize the fresh perspectives opened up by a post-structural, performative approach. I then proceed to the Naga context, where I present two case studies to ‘flesh out’ these theoretical claims in more depth. Part One traces the involvement of state institutions in these changing political economies. Specifically, I consider how local state policies and practices associated with agrarian change are not simply implicated in people’s tendency to diversify, but also in the (re)production of gender identities. Notions of male responsibility and women’s rightful position in the home emerge as particularly important in this respect. In Part Two, I move to Pacol, a small farming community located on Naga’s peri-urban fringe. By drawing on interview and focus group material provided by ten ‘diversifying’ households, I consider how these discourses come into being; how they are worked through and (re)produced inperformances.

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