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The Filipino Seafarer
A Life between Sacrifice and Shopping

by Gunnar M. Lamvik

Dept. of Social Anthropology Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirment for the Dr. Art. degree




Part I Part II

Introduction Migration – a Philippine specialty 2.1 Different perspectives on migration 2.2 The Filipinos – a people in motion

1 8 9 14

Part III

Why do people go and who are actually leaving? 3.1 Inducements for migration 3.1.1 The “explorer” and the “escapist” 3.1.2 Migration seen as sacrifice 3.2 Preconditions for migration 3.2.1 Preconditions for migration on a structural level 3.2.2 Preconditions for migration at a family level

19 20 21 23 31 32 34

Part IV

How they actually go – the broker 4.1 The patron and the compadre 4.2 The returned migrant 4.3 The private recruiter 4.4 The broker – some general and concluding remarks

38 40 43 45 52

Part V

Life at sea 5.1 What characterizes a ship in the merchant marines? 5.2 The seafaring experience 5.2.1 The ship seen as a prison 5.2.2 The total institution

55 57 66 67 72 A total institution is a secluded place 75 A total institution follow a certain pace 77 Some running themes in the inmate culture 86


Part VI

Cultural repercussions caused by the life at sea 6.1 The seafarer sees as a local, technical expert 6.2 The seafarer sees as a local cosmopolitan

100 101 107

Part VII

Economic repercussions caused by overseas employment 116 7.1 The migration industry 7.2 Effects on a family and individual level 7.2.1 Gifts from the “outside” – pasalubongs 7.2.2 Long-term investments in family welfare Education Housing Small-scale business 117 126 128 152 154 161 169


The Filipino seafarer – a life between sacrifice

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