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Title: Establishing a Filipino Identity using the Philosophy of Michel Focault
Keywords: Filipino, Identity, Philosophy, Michel, Foucault,History
Issue Date: 3-Nov-2009
Citation: CHRISTOPHER DABAN DAGUIMOL (2009-11-03). Establishing a Filipino Identity using the Philosophy of Michel Focault. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The meaning and substance behind the label Filipino is questioned, both in validity and existence. Using the methods proposed by Michel Foucault on analyzing history, this research seeks to answer the question, ?What is a Filipino?? To further streamline the question ? I would like to explore the idea on ?How identities are constructed.? Foucault explores the question of the subject by studying and analyzing the approaches taken by western philosophy from the ancient Greek times to the present; and in the process, he brings something new to our understanding of the self. His philosophy has an intriguing but emancipating set of theories that can enlighten us with the problem of identity. This research is not focus on historical data; rather the research will explore Michel Foucault?s ideas on how identity is formed. It explores what Michel Foucault calls 'subjectification', the dialectial process of self-making and being-made, within the context of ethnic identities and history. Filipino-ness or the identity of the Filipino are conventionally associated with the rhetoric of traditional politicians, nationalists and academics. The rhetoric on Filipino-ness assumes the existence of an essential Filipino belonging to a homogenous Filipino community, belonging to one Filipino nation. My alternative is Filipino-ness is a product of culture and concepts like identity are functional categories rather than ontological categories. I looked at the history of Philippine cultural practices as a way of establishing a Filipino identity. Philippine culture has always been a dynamic site for the dissemination of oppositional discourses against these hegemonic notions of Filipino identity. It would seem therefore that Philippine culture could serve as calculus of the diversity of Filipinos and Filipino communities. For Foucault, people do not have a 'real' identity within themselves; that's just a way of talking about the self -- a discourse. Foucault describes technologies of the self as the way in which individuals work their way into discourse. This is how Filipino-ness can be/was established. Although Spain engendered the experiences that defined the indios (a term used by Spaniards referring to the local inhabitants of the Philippine islands), it was the natives themselves who created the movement that turned the indio into the Filipino. Their pre-colonial culture served as a womb for the formation of what would become the Filipino culture. Native reactions to the alien intrusions included imitation, adoption, indigenization, assimilation, adaptation, and transformation. This process of merging diverse cultural elements favors the mother culture, which in this case was the Philippine native?s culture. Practices are what people live by. Shared and common identities give way to shifting and localized identities. Identity therefore is not clearly and unambiguously defined, rather it shifts over time and is generally considered unstable. The Filipino people through cultural practices and everyday living have continuously ?fashioned? themselves by integrating the fragments of their post-colonial past with colonial norms and dictates. The research concludes that a fragmented, un-based and evolving Filipino identity can find a nesting place in the philosophy of Michel Foucault.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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