chapter  5
30 Pages

Performing Globalization

Recent changes in the global economy have had a profound impact on the lives of people. Current processes of globalization, coupled with the emergence of “migration industries,” have significantly impacted the everyday life of individuals and their families. As migrant workers respond to changing conditions of the international division of labor, and of changes in the global labor market, different family formations emerge. Researchers now speak of seasonal orphans, solo parents, flexible citizens, and shadow households.1 Rachel Silvey notes that migrants’ particular experiences, on the one hand, are shaped in part by the different positions of their respective sending and receiving countries in the global economy.2 The Philippines, for example, attempts to export “surplus” labor and earn foreign exchange, while receiving countries, such as Japan, Canada, or Singapore, attempt to import cheap labor as a strategy of flexible accumulation. On the other hand, migrants’ experiences are also a reflection of individual and familial contexts, and how these are likewise affected by the processes of globalization. Consequently, how migrants experience globalization is unique. For the eight million Filipinos who live and work beyond the shores of the Philippines, there are eight million stories.3 The experience of being a Filipina nurse in the United States is different from being a Filipina nurse in Singapore; the experience of being a Filipina performing artist in Singapore, likewise, is different from being a Filipina

performing artist in Japan. And each of these experiences provides insight into the different, but similar, ways in which globalization is acted out in real ways by real people.