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Martin, J. S. (2010). Re/membering: articulating cultural identity in Philippine fiction in English (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Université libre de Bruxelles, Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres – Langues et Littératures, Bruxelles.

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UNIVERSITE LIBRE DE BRUXELLES Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres


Articulating Culturel Identity In Philippine Fiction in English

Volume I

Jocelyn MARTIN Thèse présentée en vue de l'obtention du grade académique de Docteur en Langues et lettres sous la direction du Professeur Marc MAUFORT

Année académique



UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres


Articulating Cultural Identity In Philippine Fiction in English

Volume I

Jocelyn MARTIN Thèse présentée en vue de l'obtention du grade

académique de Docteur en Langues et lettres sous r la direction du Professeur Marc MAUFORT

Année académique



To the memory of Ninang Rubing and Cory Aquino Thankyou foryour contributions to this génération.



Writing a thesis is like running in a marathon. Fortunately, there are some people who have cheered me on. The first person whom I should really thank is my director.

Professer Marc Maufort, for his untiring patience, counsel and encouragement throughout thèse years. Acknowledgement also goes to Professor Jeanne Delbaere who supervised my licentiate thesis — thank you for making me appreciate post-colonial literature studies. I also have not forgotten my high-school teachers at St. Paul's Collège, Pasig City who opened my eyes to Philippine Literature.

I am indebted to the efficient staff of the Filipiniana section at the University of the Philippines, the Rizal library and the Women's Studies section of the Ateneo de Manila University, the De La Salle University library, the Institut universitaire Pierre Goursat for their financial and fratemal support, the Cultural section of the Philippine embassies in London and Paris, writer Ed Maranan, Mrs. Gloria Rodriguez at Giraffe books, and the Dimalanta family in Manila.

Thanks to Alejandra C , A.C. de M., André-Marie P.D., Benoît de B., Bernard P., Donatella. B, Dominique V., Francis X., G. A., Geneviève O., Guillemette P (esp. for the

"multiplication incident"), Ibtihal A., Joan B-L., Marc T., Martine S., Mary, Montse, Simone W., Sylvie B., Tiziana P., Theresa C. (esp. for our conversation on

"articulation"), Thierry Q., Thomas H., Nick R., Emmanuel...

And of course, to my parents and family, Tita Mel and my relatives in the Philippines — thank you for your encouragement, patience, moral and material support ail throughout thèse years. M y spécial thanks go to Philip Milligan, who made it possible for me to end the race.

Rome, 21^' of November;

Brussels, 3"* of December 2009



Articulating Cultural Identity in Philippine Fiction in English


1.1.1. Smart H a ï r s Concept of "Articulation" 20 Influences of Althusser, Laclau and Gramsci Identity as "différence in complex unity"

1.1.2. "Coming-to-terms-with our routes" 25 1.1.3. Re/membering 27

"Re-membering" or putting together of the dismembered past

"Re-membering" or re-integrating and belonging into a group

"Remembering" or setting off in search of memory 1.1.4. Relevance of Theory within the Philippine Context 29

Current phenomena of décolonisation and émigration

"Damaged" Filipino identity as the material for articulation 1.1.5. Recurring Concepts within this Corpus o f Work 3 3 Magic Realism Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities Jacques Lacan's Mirror Stage H o m i B h a b h a ' s Notion ofHybridity


The Challenges to re/membering:

1.1.6. Double-consciousness 41

- W.E.B Du Bois' The Soûls of Black Folk Frantz Fanon's Black Skin White Masks - Ronald Hall's "Bleaching Syndrome"

1.1.7. Dismemberment 46

The Filipino "Group Culture"

Edward Said's concept of Orientalism

Sophia McClennen's concept of "Exilic Time"

1.1.8. Forgetting 50

Pierre Nora's Lieux de Mémoire

Freud's notions of Repeating and Working-Through Paul Ricoeur's Memory, History, and Forgetting

1.2. A History of Philippine Literature 56

1.2.1. Literature during Colonisation and Dictatorship UnderSpain (1521-1898) U n d e r t h e U.S. (1898-1940) U n d e r J a p a n ( 1941-1945) Post WWIl and Early Years of hidependence (1946-1965) Under Dictatorship (1972-1986) Today: A "De-Americanization" and Appropriation of English 1.2.2. Literature during Periods of Migration 94

(8) U.S.-bound migration First Wave of Emigration (1906-1930) Second wave (1946 to 1965) Third wave / Martial Law exiles (1965-1980) Diaspora Now

A diaspora A labour diaspora

A largely féminine diaspora

1.3. Relevance of Corpus of Authors

Carlos Bulosan or the voice of Filipino workers in the U.S.

Bienvenido Santos, the writer of old-timer exiles in the States N.V.M. Gonzalez or the novelist of the barrio

Nick Joaquin and his "Spanish-flavoured" English

Frank Sionil José, the représentative of the Martial Law era - Ninotchka Rosca, the political exile

- Jessica Hagedom, Filipina American author and performer Merlinda Bobis, Filipina Australian trilingual writer



2.1. Double-consciousness and Internalisation of Colonised Identity 118 Nick Joaquin's The Woman Who Had Two Navels

2.2. Double-consciousness and Internalisation of Filipino Identity in America 138

Bienvenido Santos' The Man Who (Thought He) Looked Like Robert Taylor 2.3. Double-consciousness and Internalisation of Colonised

Intelligentsia Identity 156 Santos' Villa Magdalena Sionil José's The Pretenders

2.4. Double-consciousness and Internalisation of Black/ Brown Skin 175

Carlos Bulosan's America is in the Heart and Sionil José's Viajero Ninotchka Rosca's Twice Blessed and Santos' Praying Man 2.5. Ke/membering and Double-consciousness 202


3.1. Dismemberment through Homogenization and Orientalism 210 Bulosan's America is in the Heart

Hagedom's Dream Jungle


3.2. Dismemberment through Erasure of Belonging 232 Santos' "The Day the Dancers Came"

- Santos' "Scent of Apples"

3.3. Dismemberment through Refusai to Belong 253 N V M Gonzalez's Bamboo Dancers

3.4. Dismemberment through Oppression 286 - Merlinda Bobis' "Fish-Hair Woman"

- Nick Joaquin's Cave and Shadows 3.5. Re/membering and Dismemberment 305


4.1. Re/membering as Anamnesis and Healing 313 - Merlinda Bobis' "Fish-Hair Woman"

4.2. Forgetting and Re/membering as Freudian Repeating 326 Nick Joaquin's Cave andS/iadows

4.3. Re/membering as Overcoming Repeating and Nostalgia 337 Nick Joaquin's The Woman Who Had Two Navels

4.4. Re/membering as United Memory and History 356 Frank Sionil José's Viajero

4.5. Re/membering and Forgetting 374


5. CONCLUSION: Difficult but Hopeful Re/memberins. 380



7.1. Map of the Philippines 7.2. Picture of the tinikling


Every time I remembered anything that unsettled my heart, my hair grew at least one hand-span... history hurts my hair....

Remembering is always a bleeding out of memory...

Merlinda Bobis, "Fish- Hair Woman" (pp. 11-17)




On Philippine Independence Day, last 12 June 2009, an exhibit was held around the 2.2 kilomètre tree-lined oval park of the University of the Philippines. The event was called

"Looking for Juan" — Juan being the personification of the "Filipino". Through art, words and music, artists, writers and musicians attempted to answer the question "What does it mean to be Filipino?" An excerpt from the event's website read:

Who is Juan? Who is Juana? Or maybe it is the name itself - Juan is a Spanish name, one that did not exist in thèse Islands before we were conquered. D o we reject "Juan" as a non-Fihpino name? Or do w e embrace it as an undeniable part of who we are today given our history? ...In the end, of course, there is no single correct answer to the question, - understanding the questions is often more important than providing the answers'.

What I want to underscore from the above anecdote is the relevance of thèse questions for Filipinos today. The initiative, "Looking for Juan," reveals a certain désire to be able articulate cultural identity. Moreover, the underlying question behind "do we embrace

' http://lookingforjuan.blogspot.com/2009/06/our-independence-day-gift.html


[Juan, originally a Spanish name] as an undeniable part of who we are today given our history?" already alludes to an on-going articulation of colonial history.

In this study, I would like to examine how Philippine^ authors emphasise the need for what I call "re/membering" cultural identity. I will use "re/we/MÔering" to designate coming to terms with the ways cultural identity has been articulated through the routes of colonisation, migration and dictatorship. I would like to show that, although painstaking and difficult, re/member'mg is important and necessary because what is at stake is an articulation of Philippine cultural identity. The end purpose of this investigation would be to identify hopefiil signs of healing, re-articulations or re-creations of Filipino cultural identity in literature.

Moreover, I would like to insist on the place of Philippine literature in English on the map of postcolonial studies. In current postcolonial studies in English, writing back to a Centre, to use Rushdie's expression, would imply, most of the time, writing back to Britain. In this case, the périphéries would include, for example, the Caribbean, Nigeria, India, but also, to a certain extent, the United States (cf. Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin 1989:32). Of course, because of its new status as a world power today, one can hardly describe the U.S. as "peripheral" anymore (cf West 1990). However, if it has thus come to such a centralised position, then postcolonial studies should inquire about its

périphéries. For the moment, when one thinks of the U.S. margins, one would

^ Philippine and Filipino are used as adjectives to things relating to the country, the Philippines. Filipino can also be used as a noun to refer to a citizen of the country (or Filipino, fem.); or to its national language.

Meanwhile, the noun Tagalog dénotes either a member from a région of the archipelago, or one of the major languages of the country from which the national language Filipino is largely based {Compact Oxford English Diclionary).


immediately evoke Black Americans, Hispanics, "Asian-Americans" in gênerai, and even Canada (cf. Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffm 1989:142). The Philippines as a periphery only becomes visible through Filipino Americans like Jessica Hagedom who is able to make her Works known through mainstream publishers like Penguin books. In other words, one still has to be a part of the mainstream American (i.e., U.S.) context in order to be

perceived. In spite of the Philippines being the U.S.' only Asian colony^; notwithstanding the fact that English (from America) remains an officiai language of the Philippines"*, and despite the huge amount of literature in English in the Philippines, strangely, its English- language literature has not been given much attention. In bookstores, for example, the Works of major authors like Nick Joaquin or N.V.M. Gonzalez are not found alongside their postcolonial contemporary writers. Discussions on postcolonial literature in English in the South Asian région would, most of the time, immediately call to mind former British colonies such as Singapore, Malaysia and especially, India. While highlighting the popularity of Indian literature in English in the Asian région, in his book, The Stepmother longue, John Skinner points out that the Philippines "has a rich tradition of anglophone fiction, quite the equal of Sri Lanka's and second only to that of India. It is even d o s e r to the latter, moreover, in terms of démographie and linguistic complexity" (1998:70). Here is another gauge of comparison: while a history of Indian literature in English has been undertaken in 1962^, the first volume on the history of the Philippine novel in English had been written seven years after it^. In other words. Philippine literature deserves a

' See/ hear Christopher Gunness, B B C Tiger Taies, 16 February 2003.

Along with Filipino.

^ I refer to K.R. Srinivasa lyengar's Indian Writing in English published by the Asia Publishing House in Bombay. Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin note it is a first in documenting Indian writing in English (1989:122).

* The Filipino Novel in English, which was written by a Malaysian student, Abdul Majid bin Nabi Baicsh, was submitted as an M.A. dissertation in July 1970.


more visible place in postcolonial studies in English. Britain is not the only centre anymore; the Philippines has been colonised by a formerly colonised people, who have shifted from a dominated to dominant position.

Today, most documentation on Philippine Literature in English is available either in the U.S. or, of course, in the Philippines. In Manila, the main sources of Philippine literary studies come from and are produced by the Universities of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle university Systems, as well as the publishing

companies of Anvil, Giraffe, New Day, and Solidaridad. Outside Manila, the Universities of San Carlos in Cebu (thanks to Resil Mojares) and the Silliman University in the South (due to the Tiempos) also generate académie and critical studies in literature.

In Hawaii or Califomia, wherein a considérable population of Filipino Americans résides, their universities offer more specialised studies on Filipino/American authors as part of their Asian American Studies programmes. American critics and editors who have devoted particular interest in Philippine literature include Léonard Casper, Carey

Williams (especially on Carlos Bulosan), L.M. Grow (especially on Bienvenido Santos), and Benedict Anderson (especially on José Rizal), among others. Otherwise, most literary criticism is published by Filipino Americans themselves. The more prominent ones are E.

San Juan, Jr., Oscar Campomanes, and Melinda de Jésus. Although they write about Filipino American matters most of time, they also discuss Philippine-based authors who, because of lack of contact with mainstream international publishers^, are left in the

' Multi-awarded Filipino poet Ed Maranan confimis the difficulty for Filipino authors (except for Sionil José, a publisher himself) to find international publishers: "It is almost next to impossible for a Filipino


shadow of current postcolonial studies in English. Often, Filipino authors are mentioned within the scope of Filipino American fiction^ only and forgotten are the Philippine-based authors writing in English.

In Europe, sources on Philippine literature in English are even more scant.

Otherwise, one has to resort to the restricted amount of documentation that is made available in the cultural sections of the Philippine embassies in Paris and London.

However, since 1991 only, the Centre for Asian Studies in Amsterdam initiated four symposia called the "European Philippines (Europhil) Studies Conférences." During the first convention held also in Amsterdam, among the European scholars, most participants came from Germany (eight représentatives) and Holland (seven), followed by France (four) and Great Britain (three)^. This initiative shows that consolidated interest of

Europeans on Philippine Studies is fairly récent. Another interesting pièce of information reveals that, despite the fact that Spanish has ceased to be an officiai spoken language in the archipelago since 1973 (A. Gonzalez 1998: 33), through the initiative of the

Philippine Department of Education, since 2007, ties were renewed between Spanish and

writer to get pubiished in the UK. Our writers in the U.S. are faring much better. Of course they already live there, and are basically Fil-Ams, but they have entered the mainstream. Filipino writers based in the Philippines (with very few exceptions, such as F. Sionil José) are still struggling to get pubiished abroad. I guess the next thing is for Filipino writers' works to sell well abroad, and this is being done through international booksellers, as well as participation in international book fairs" (Personal correspondence dated 1 7 N o v e m b e r 2 0 0 9 ) .

* See, for example, anthologies such as An Interethnic Companion to Asian American Literature (Cheung 1997), Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography (1998), Asian American Literature: Reviews and Criticism of Works by American Writers of Asian Descent (Trudeau 1999), Redefining American Literary History (Ruoff and Ward 1990), American Ethnie Literatures (Peck 1992), New Immigrant Literature in the United States (Knippling 1996).

' The Conférences were spearheaded by Otto van den Muijzenberg from the Center for Asian Studies in Amsterdam. Consécutive conférences were held in London (1994), Aix-en Provence (1997), and recently, in Alcala (2001). In this last symposium, the main speaker was Benedict Anderson. C f Potet, Jean-Paul.

Archipel-Persée. Vol 42, # 42. Pp. 14-18.


Philippine universities . Indeed, among European countries, Spain can claim to hold the longest contact with the Philippines". Amusingly, when I meet Europeans and tell them that I originally corne from the Philippines, generally, one of the first things they say is

"oh, so you speak Spanish" or "oh, Filipinos speak Spanish, no?" Questions like thèse leave me wondering how widespread the knowledge is that the language of Cervantes was actually not pro-actively taught, in spite of the 400-year Spanish reign in the Philippines. On the contrary, American English was. Moreover, it was used as a means for colonisation'^. European critics or linguists who have at least devoted a significant amount of space in their works on Philippine literature in English include John Skinner and David Crystal. This latter affirms that although the Philippines achieved sovereignty in 1946, "the influence of American English remains strong. And as this country has by far the largest population of the English-speaking states in the région (about 70 million in 1996), it makes a significant contribution to world totals" (Crystal 1988: 49). Crystal adds that for a population of 70,011,000 in the Philippines in 1995, those who speak English as a first language were 15,000 and as a second language were 36,400,000 (Crystal 1988: 59). While acknowledging well-known volumes such as the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English or joumals like Kunapipi or the

'° In Minister of Education Edgardo Angara's website, he reports of a visit to Spain from the 23"* of June to the 1^' of July 2007. His team established educational links between universities in Sevilla, AJcala and in the Basque région. The University of Alcala even holds a chair in Philippine Studies.

" Spain landed on Philippine shores in 1521. However, as far as the history of the Philippine novel is concemed, the longest ties with Europe date back to the publications o f José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891). The Noli was mostly composed in Paris and published in Berlin;

while the Fili was written in London, Biarritz, Paris, and Brussels and then published in Ghent (Rafaël 2002:4).


Occupation coincided with the arrivai of the first teachers recruited from the American forces. The ship,

"T/iowaj was fitted up for their accommodation and in July 1901, it sailed from San Francisco with six hundred teachers — a second army of occupation — surely the most remarkable cargo ever carried to an Oriental colony" (Elliot [1917] quoted in Constantino 1966:5).


Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Skiimer déclares that "there are as yet (regrettably) no volumes on Asian, Australasian or white South African writers" (as of 1988).

In other words, Philippine literature still remains a neglected area in English literary studies. Reasons behind this "invisibility" could be attributed to lack of contact with mainstream publishers or to the country's unclear peripheral position because of its référence to at least'^ two "centres" (or former colonisers): the U.S. and Spain. Thus, it is urgent to put Philippine literature in English in the "new englishes" literary world map.

More specifically, it is imperative to discover and study authors who are Philippine- based, not only those who are incorporated within the Filipino American context.

By postcolonial, I mean to encompass "ail aspects of the colonial process from the beginning of colonial contact" up to present-day "forms of neo-colonial domination"

(Ashcroft, et. al. 1995:2). Far from indicating a notion of "after-colonialism", which the prefix post could be made to imply, postcolonial studies entail a "continuing process of résistance and reconstruction" (Ashcroft, et. al. 1995:2) around varions issues such as race, migration, suppression, master discourses, and so on. Philippine literature displays most of the thèmes which one can find in postcolonial texts: the fight towards

independence, the présence of a dominant foreign culture, the construction or démolition of houses, allegory, irony, magie realism, exile, the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised, hybridity, the struggle with the past and the construction of the fiiture, the abrogation and appropriation of English, the marginalising of the postcolonial voice by the impérial centre, the problem of inauthenticity and victimisation, among others

The Philippines was also colonised by the Japanese at the outbreak of WWII.


(Ashcroft, et. al. 1995: 27-36, 38, 83, 141). Because of the Philippines' context of sériai colonisations by European (Spain), North American (U.S.A) and Asian (Japan) powers, ail thèse postcolonial éléments can be found in its fiction.

"This is the reason why, for my primary corpus, I have chosen works of fiction which underscore the importance of coming to terms with the ways cultural identity has been articulated through the routes of colonisation, migration and dictatorship. I will elaborate more on the reasons of my sélection of writers under section 1.3, "Relevance of Corpus of Authors". Consequently, I will aiso make use of theoretical ideas which would help me develop the debates surrounding the challenges related to this thème of cultural identity articulation. More specifically, I will draw from Caribbean intellectual Stuart Hall and his concept of articulated cultural identity. I find this idea helpful because the historically positioned and subjected agent can also be perceived as someone capable of articulating the past in spite of and through the interventions of history (cf Grossberg

1996 [1986]: 157 and Hall 2003:236). hi other words, his theory allows one to see cultural identity as a becoming. I will expand on this concept in sections 1.1.1 to 1.1.2. In order to articulate an identity which has undergone foreign and local colonial

interventions, one has to identify some points which challenge efforts towards coming-to- terms with the past. In analysing the works I have chosen, I have identified at least three éléments which one has to reckon with: double-consciousness, dismemberment and forgetting. I will describe each point from sections 1.2.1 to 1.2.3.


Consequently, aside from Hall's ideas, the other théories which I shall use in this study are those which enrich the debate on Philippine cultural identity. To be concise, I needed concepts which would help me express the following expériences: imposition, either from traumatic events or from a "higher culture" at the expense of another; the resulting feeling of "doubleness" or "dismemberment" in the colonised; and lastly, making sensé of the past, healing and rebuilding. Thus, to describe expériences of imposition from colonialist or hégémonie practices, I will draw from Jacques Lacan's Mirror Stage (explained further in, Edward Said's Orientalism (1.1.7) and Stuart Hall and Antonio Gramsci's théories of hegemony (1.1.1). To expound on questions related to events of banishment, I will use Sophia McClermen's ideas on exile (1.1.7). lu order to illustrate the problem of double-consciousness and cultural denigration of self, I resort to the ideas of W.E.B Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, and Ronald Hall (ail under 1.1.6).

Finally, making sensé of the "interventions of history" would entail a suturing of the past through, for example working-through, which I draw from Freud (1.1.8); hybridity as a strategy, which comes from Bhabha ( belonging into an imagined community, a concept coined by Benedict Anderson (; and, last but not least, through memory, which I will elaborate using ideas from Nora and Ricoeur (1.1.8). In a way, the literary mode of Magic Realism ( can be considered as an indicator of coming to terms with the past because of its "ex-centric" character and faculty of subversion. I would now like to explain the aforementioned terms.


1.1.1. Stuart H a i r s Concept of Articulation

I prefer to refer to an ''articulation of cultural identity" rather than, say, a ''définition of cultural identity". I draw my meaning of "articulation" from Jamaican-bom cultural critic, Stuart Hall. Conceiving identity as an articulation carries connotations of

becoming, understanding positioning, "arbitrary closure", open-endedness, and allowing différence and unity at the same time. Articulation allows "the fragmented, decentred human agent" to be considered as one who is both "subject-ed" by power but/and one who is capable of acting against those powers (Grossberg 1996 [1986]: 157, emphasis mine). In his essay, "Who Needs Identity?" (1996), Hall describes identity as "a process of articulation" (1996:3), as "a construction, a process never completed" (1996:2).

Instead of an idea of a "settled" identity. Hall argues for a concept that allows

"becoming" through and despite the interventions of history and colonisation.

Articulation may présent itself as a "deceptively simple" (Slack 1996:114) concept which, at any rate, conjures meanings related to linkages or yoking together.

However, to fully understand its potential and context, one has to take into account its influences from the neo-marxist tradition, particularly from Althusser, Laclau and Gramsci.

In his essay, "Signification, Représentation, Ideology", Hall admits how Althusser enabled him "to live in and with différence" (1985:92). In writing this. Hall alludes to


Althusser's break with the founding text of the classical Marxist theory of ideology, namely, "that ruling ideas always correspond to ruling class positions" (Hall 1985:97).

Instead, one bas to think in terms of no necessary correspondence between éléments.

What should be analyzed, instead, is the articulation between différent contradictions since those "which drive historical process forward may not always appear in the same place, nor always bave the same historical effects" (Hall 1985:92). This perspective would also imply that people are not inextricably inscribed with ideas so that they ought to think in a certain way, as if there is one true ascribed ideology corresponding to each class. Knowledge of this background allows one to understand w h y Hall considers identities as a process.

Hall appropriated "articulation" from Emesto Laclau (cf Hall in Grossberg 1996 [1986]: 142). Contesting class reductionism, Laclau argues that political connotations and ideological éléments do not necessarily belong to each other. To put it simply, "not everyone believes what they are supposed to believe or acts in a way they are supposed to act, regardless of their class belonging" (Slack 1996:118). Therefore, "a theory of articulation is both a way of understanding how ideological éléments corne, under certain conditions, to cohere together within a discourse, and a way of asking h o w they do or do not become articulated, at spécifie conjunctures" (Hall in Grossberg 1996 [1986]: 141-

142; c f Hall 1985:113-114). Hence, articulation makes one understand how ideology empowers people or a certain number of people. It makes one focus and pinpoint

"powerful barriers to the potential for re-articulation", or what Hall calls as "lines of


tendential force" (Hall in Grossberg 1996[1986]:142 and Slack 1996:124) in certain hégémonie configurations.

Hall's concept of hegemony comes from Antonio Gramsci who understands it as a process by which a class "co-ordinates the interests of social groups such that those groups actively 'consent' to their subordinated status" (Slack 1996: 117). Ideology, which combines disparate éléments of "common sensé" and the notion of a "higher philosophy", is used as the vehicle of this subordination. As Grossberg puts it succinctly,

"ideology is the naturalization of a particular historical cultural articulation"

(1996[1986]). Laclau explains that a class is hégémonie "not so much to the extent that it is able to impose a uniform conception of the world on the rest of society, but to the extent that it can articulate différent visions of the world in such a way that their potential antagonism is neutralized" (Laclau 1977:161 in Slack 1996: 119). In other words, in order for hegemony to take effect, two éléments are necessary: coercion and consent.

Gramsci's notion of authority is therefore far from simplistic: it dépends on the consent of those who are coerced to submit (Holub 1992:45). This is why Hall underlines that hegemony should not be thought of as a pure victory or pure domination that is won once and for ail. Rather, hegemony should be understood as the shifting balance of power in the relations of culture (Hall 1996 [1992]:468; c f Hall in Grossberg 1996 [1986]: 149).

Thus, one can speak of articulation and re-articulation. At the same time, one can also understand that a given condition is such because it is a resuit of previous practices. This is what Hall refers to as a "double articulation": "we make history, but on the basis of anterior conditions which are not of our making" (1985:95).


Thus, articulation can be characterised as an "open ended practice", because re- articulations are possible. An articulation thus expresses a momentary "unity" or,

according to Slack, an "arbitrary closure" (1996:115) that evokes "différence in complex unity" (Hall 1985:93). Thus Hall calls identity as "points of temporary attachment" or as

"the resuit of a successfiil articulation or 'chaining' to subject positions" (Hall 1996:6).

Once an articulation is made, "the two practices can function together, not as an 'immédiate identity'...but as 'distinctions within a unity'" (Hall 1985:114).

Consequently, this means that the fragmented, decentred human agent can be considered as one who is both "subject-ed" by power but/and one who is capable of acting against those powers (cf. Grossberg 1996 [1986]: 157, emphasis mine). Hence, struggle is always possible within culturally hégémonie structures.

So what does one's knowledge about articulation contribute to one's perspective of culture and identity? On the one hand, one can examine "whether a dominant cultural order is constantly preferred" (Grossberg, 1996 [1986]: 161). It allows one to study "the changing ensemble e f f o r c e s ...that create and maintain identities that have real concrète effects" (Slack 1996:125). Thèse "concrète effects", if I may suggest, could be

denigration of skin colour, low self-esteem, or colonial mentality. On the other hand, articulation opens ways to créative "cultural stratégies that can make a différence and that can shift the dispositions of power" (Hall 1996 [1992]: 468).


Thus, articulation allows one to think of identity in terms of "unity and différence" (Hall 1985:93) or, as Grossberg clearly puts it, as "the complex set of historical principles by which we struggle to produce identity or structural unity out of, on top of, complexity, différence, contradiction" (1996 [1986]: 154). Identity refers to the meeting point or the "suture, between on the one hand the discourses and practices which attempt to 'interpellate', speak to us or bail us into place as the social subjects of

particular discourses, and on the other hand, the processes which produce subjectivities, which construct us as subjects which can be 'spoken'" (Hall 1996:5-6). Thinking of identity as "différence in complex unity" (Hall 1985:93) suits the Philippine situation in at least three ways: (1) it acknowledges Philippine diversity: an archipelago of 7.100 islands (Handbook for Filipinos Overseas 2005:7), a population of 80 million speaking in

120 différent languages (A. Gonzalez 1988:489); (2) it opens to ways of thinking current waves of labour émigration''* and (3); it enables me to take into account the différent ways in which Filipino identity has been positioned in spite of and because of colonisation, migration and dictatorship. I will focus more on this third point in this thesis. Since 1521, the date of the Spanish "discovery" of the islands, the Philippines has been subjected to colonisations from Spain (400 years), Japan (three years) and the U.S.

(40 y e a r s ) A m e r i c a n occupation in the 1900s coincided with the arrivai of six hundred teachers — a "second army of occupation" (EUiot 1917 quoted in Constantino 1966:5). In

A s of December 2004, eight million Filipinos have been estimated living or working abroad. This is ten percent of the country's population. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas states that the top five destinations of Overseas Filipino workers are Saudi Arabia, Japan, Hong Kong, the Emirates and Taiwan;

while the first five destinations for permanent residency are the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, the U K and Guam {Handbookfor Filipinos Overseas 2005:9).

" In this thesis, when I write "Americans" or "Spanish" or "Japanese" in the context of Philippine colonial history, I do not refer homogenously to all Americans, Spanish or Japanese. I indicate those who

participated in the colonial enterprise during the years stated above. I do not want to include those who were opposed to imperialism and yet happen to belong to thèse peoples.


1913, English became an officiai language of the country (Majid 1970: 8). Moreover, the Martial Law years under Marcos'^ (14 years) and the major waves of migration from the early 1900s to the présent were experienced like local re-enactments of conquest. Thèse circumstances have ail contributed to a notion of a fragmented cultural identity.

1.1.2. "Coming-to-terms-with our routes"

In this study, articulating cultural identity will be delineated as a "coming-to-terms-with"

the past. Corning to terms with something does not necessarily mean "finding the solution once and for ail". Instead, it indicates an undergoing (healing) process which involves time. When I use the expression to corne to terms with, an idiom which originally means

"to reconcile oneself to" or "to accept and deal with a difficult situation'^", I allude to Stuart Hall's description of "identity", not as "the so-called retum to roots but a coming- to-terms-with our routes" (1996:4, my emphasis), thus an articulation.

In his essay "Cultural Identity and Diaspora" (orig. 1990'*), Stuart Hall théorises two ways of reflecting on cultural identity: first, in terms of a "one, shared culture, a sort of collective 'one true s e l f , hiding inside the many other, more superficial or artificially imposed 'selves'" (2003:234). This first point of view claims that there had been a loss of a once-pristine form of identity before the expériences of transportation, slavery, and

Ferdinand Marcos ruled from 1965 to 1986.

'^American Héritage Dictionary of Idioms. Ammer, Christine. 1997. Houghton Mifflin. USA. Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, Inded. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006.

The version I use here comes from Braziel and Mannur's Theorizing Diaspora, 2003. This édition has re- printed Hall's essay from the volume Identity: Community, Culture, Différence edited by Jonathan

Rutherford, 1990.


migration of Black peoples (Hall 2003:235). However, Hall also introduces a second position which

...recognizes that, as well as the many points of similarity, there are also critical points of deep and significant différence which constitute

"what we really are"; or rather — since history has intervened — "what we have become"... Far from being grounded in mère "recovery" of the p a s t . . . identifies are the names we give to the différent ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within the narratives of the past...It is only from this second position that we can properly understand the traumatic character of the "colonial expérience" (Hall 2003:236).

This second idea emphasises, not fmding the "buried treasure" of a once-and-for-all intact cultural identity. Rather, it underscores the understanding of a positioning that takes into considération the colonial expérience. It is thus a process of cultural identification that implies a "construction, a process never completed...a process of articulation''' (Hall 1996:2-3, emphasis mine). This is why cultural identity can be thought of "not the so-called retum to roots but a coming-to-terms-with our 'routes'"

(Hall 1996:4, my emphasis).

The homonymie expression, routes and roots, has already been elaborated by Paul Gilroy in his séminal work, The Black Atlantic (1993). For Gilroy, "belonging" indicates both "being from a place," as well as "a process of arrivai" (Kaur and Hutnyk 2005: 29).

On the one hand, he distances himself from essentiaUst notions of a "pure", "stable" or

"unchanging" identity. On the other hand, like Hall, he also seems wary of perceiving cultural identity solely as "change", as his now famous expression for cultural identity as


a "changing same" indicates (Gilroy 1993:101). Gilroy thus invites the theorist to think of sameness and differentiation without privileging either term, that is to say, by considering

"the differentiation within the sameness and the sameness within differentiation" (1995:

26). This point of view of cultural identity, described as an oscillation between roots and routes, reminds one of Hall's concept of articulation as "différence in complex unity".

Cultural identity perceived as roots/routes, on the one hand, acknowledges the struggles linked to subjugation; and on the other hand, allows articulation of the past. Articulation as "différence" respects the Filipino expérience of fragmentation; "unity" respects the désire for a form of belonging, "without becoming a hostage to the privileging of différence'^ as such'" (Hall 1985:93).

1.1.3. Ke/memberine.

In the context of this study, what does "to corne to terms with" really imply? Again, the idiom dénotes a process of acceptance, of reconciliation or dealing with a difficult situation. Although the idiom describes an on-going process, it alludes going towards a solution even though one is not sure whether this solution would be found or would be lasting. In this thesis, I want to make use of "re/membering" as a more descriptive and flinctional form of coming-to-terms-with the routes of the colonial, dictatorial and

" When Hall speaks of "privileging of différence", he alludes to Jacques Derrida's concept o f différance (Derrida 2000 [1972]: 87-93) which suggests infinité déferrai without "erasing the trace of its other meanings" (Hall 2003 [1990]: 239). In différance, "'differ' shades into 'defer'" (Norris in Hall 2003 [1990]: 239), thus indicating postponement of meaning (of identity). While refusing fixity, I like the way Hall modérâtes the Derridean etemal slippage ( c f Hall 1985:93) by recognising that meanings are indeed created, are held in place and are used in particular conditions (Fiske 1996 [1986]: 214). Like différance, where "signification is possible only if each so-called présent élément ...is related to something other than itseif (Derrida 2000 [1972]:90), articulation too is considered an unfinished phenomenon that is founded on

"open ended-ness" (Hall 1985:95). However, articulation is also an "arbitrary closure" (Siack 1996:115) — unity and différence, différence in complex unity, routes and roots.


migrant expériences of the PhiUppines. Rather than "inventing" this concept before starting this project, I would quaUfy re/membering as, to use James Joyce's expression, an epiphany, a "révélation" that cornes as a resuit of observations based on recurring and pressing thèmes in Philippine Hterature. While, on the whole, rdmembenng does indicate a "coming-to-terms-with", it encapsulâtes the foUowing three-fold meaning: (1) a "re- membering", to indicate what Homi Bhabha calls as "a putting together of the

dismembered past to make sensé of the trauma of the présent" (1994:63); as (2) a "re- membering" or a re-integration into a group, an adhésion to a type of belonging, a re- gathering into a notion of a community, and; as (3) "remembering" which implies possessing "memory or ... set [ting] off in search of a memory" (Ricoeur 2004:4). Thus, this strange morphological form coincidentally succinctly expresses "making sensé of the past", re-defïning belonging and cultivating memory. Re/membering summarises the ways in which Filipino authors try to articulate cultural identity. The oblique stroke (/) or the "slash", which is used between alternatives, allows overlapping among the three meanings and permits flexibility in going from one signification to another. If I want to point out only one of the three meanings, then I will be spécifie: "re-membering" will evoke the first meaning of "making sensé of the past"; "re-membering" will signify

"being a member again"; and "remembering" will stand for searching or cultivating memory.

Re/membering is therefore an objective in itself and is, at the same time, a

process. Moreover, its gerund form, "-ing", adapts nicely to emphasise undertones that indicate something "on-going" and "continuous." At the same time, the sensé of the


expression dénotes a "gathering together", a "uniting". Hence, vdmember'mg fonctions like an articulation but is not only an articulation because its "arbitrary closure" is

conditioned towards the purposes of making sensé of the past, redefining belonging and cultivating memory, which are continuous. Kdmember'mg can be understood as coming- to-terms but slightly differs from it because of connotations of creativity, in particular, memory cultivation and community building, which, at the same time, are never-ending processes.

1.1.4. Relevance of Theory within the Philippine Context

The notion of identity perceived as "routes/ roots", "articulation", or "arbitrary closure"

becomes important at this time of a double movement in Philippine culture: a time of on- going décolonisation and, at the same time, a pro-active push towards économie

migration politics (cf Strobel 2001:105; Ehrenreich and Hochschild 2002). I define décolonisation according to Strobel: "a psychological process that enables the colonized to understand and overcome ... marginalization caused by ... colonization.

Decolonization ... makes space for the recovery and healing of traumatic memory"

(2001). Emigration and décolonisation have naturally prompted intellectuals to hold themselves responsible to "seek" for, or to formulate a cultural identity (cf delà Costa in Florentino 1964:98-104). This explains the relevance of the initiative, "Looking for Juan"

that I have mentioned at the outset. Filipino critics and writers have lamented the

"scattering of a people, not yet a fully matured nation, to the ends of the earth, across the planet throughout the 60s and 70s continuing up to the présent" (San Juan in Okamura


1998: 13); or how the Filipinos "were startled, nay, assaulted, before our common soul could grow firmly in place" (Mojares 2000:3); or how "a multilingual society [is] still trying to crystallize itself as a nation" (A. Gonzalez 2003: 3). Succinctly and ironically, writer Nick Joaquin stated that "the identity of a Filipino today is of a person asking, what is bis identity" (1998: 244). On the other band, it could be argued that it is in diaspora that one becomes more attached to a notion of a cultural identity. The double movement of décolonisation and émigration makes of "identity" a complex question: the former entails a "coming to terms with the past"; the latter implies, to tweak Nora (1989), the "accélération of 'new cultural identities' (Filipino American, Filipino European, Filipino Saudi-Arabian...). Coming-to-terms involves articulation, "making sensé", décolonisation, healing, accepting, understanding positioning, reading the past through the catégories of the présent. On the contrary, the new Filipino cultural identity variations présent themselves as Terrae Incognitae. On the one band, coming-to-terms requires

understanding material that can be gathered or articulated. On the other band, producing -

— and I do say producing, as long as the Philippine govemment encourages its people to emigrate^" — new cultural identities requires, at any case, understanding of the past, plus, the faculty of anticipating identities which we are less familiar with. Soon, second and third-generation Filipinos will (also) be speaking (only?) Arabie or French. The case of the Filipino American may even be more complicated: bis task of identification entails

In 1982, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) was created to promote Filipino workers' skills abroad. They "marketed" their English language, a relative high level of éducation, willingness to do manual and labour jobs, and adaptability to différent working conditions and foreign cultures (Okamura 1998:134). Their remittances have kept the economy afloat: between 1989 and 1993 Filipinos working in more than 30 countries remitted $ 8.1. The différent sources of this amount came from Filipino Americans ($ 5 billion); followed by Filipinos in Saudi Arabia ($ 592 million), Japan ($ 253 million), Germany ($ 191 million) and the United Kingdom ($ 162 million) (POEA and Okamura 1998:126). In a speech in 1988 in Hong Kong, Président Cory Aquino described overseas workers as the

"new heroes": "Kayo po ang mga bagong bayani " ("You are the new heroes").


both articulation of the past and negotiation of space for himself as a minority group in the U.S., the new "world power" (West 1990), whose colonial ties with the Philippines have been (or remain) ambivalent^'.

To be more positive, I perceive that the Philippine cultural identity question gives impetus for its urgent articulation. At a time when writers already have their hands fuU with attempts in "making sensé" of the Philippine expérience of colonisation,

dictatorship, and migration to the U.S., now, mass émigration outside the States offers many challenges and reassures re-articulations for years to come^^. Between a task of articulation of the past and a task of anticipation, I will assume the more modest task of trying already to understand how authors attempt to articulate and make sensé of this

"Juan" "since history has intervened" (Hall 2003:236). At any rate, I would like to avoid the temptation of regarding and celebrating identity as only "open ended" that becomes devoid of community; nor an understanding of "routes" as a means for isolation rather than for community. I am not advocating an understanding of "routes" that only start from a présent without links to a past and am wary of the use of "routes" as a justification that disregards belonging. Without considering the links of one route to another, they are

^' Although the Philippines recovered its independence on 4 July 1946, the Bell Trade Act was passed in 1946. This allowed free flow of U.S. goods into the Philippines for eight years followed by 20 years of exchange with tariffs and "parity" rights which gave the Americans the same privilèges as the Filipinos to exploit the natural resources of the nation (Lumbera 1997:179, Hall D.G.E. 1994:902, Majid 1970:71). The Military Bases Agreement o f 1947 also demanded free use o f 23 base sites in the country for 99 years with the Americans enjoying fiill légal jurisdiction over them (Golay 1961:64). Because of the nationalist move of the Aquino govemment (Skinner 1998: 71), bases were dismantled in 1992. However, since February 1998, a new negotiation, called the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), was approved. The V F A allows U.S.

forces to "visit" Philippine ports and résume military exercises in the country. Today, this agreement is undergoing a re-reading in the senate. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago affirms that the terms 'visit,' 'temporary' and 'activities' have not been clearly defined (Calica, Aurea. 2009 "Senate: Abrogate Visiting Forces Agreement". The Philippine Star. September 24, 2009).

Although Sionil José's Viajero, which I am going to study in this volume, mentions expériences of émigration, I am thinking o f José Dalisay's Soledad's Sister which was short-listed in this year's Man Prize for Literature.


not routes anymore but, to give an image, "apparitions" or "UFO landings". I understand

"routes" not to mean a perennial "starting from zéro" but, as Hall says, an articulation.

This point brings m e to another reason for choosing Hall's notion of identity as

"open-ended" and as a "coming-to-terms with routes." His idea of cultural identity also offers the possibility to consider division and fragmentation —"since history has intervened" (Hall 2003:236) — as part of identification, instead of hindrances to a

formulation of cultural identity. This allows me to explain a change of perspective among Filipino authors, that is, from a yeaming for an "undamaged" or an "un-inchoate"

Filipino culture (to paraphrase Fallows 1987 and Bemad 1957), towards a perspective that tries to link fragments (cf Feria 1991). The former point of view focuses on identity as «o«-articulation and views fragmentation as problematic. The latter, meanwhile, pushes for a transfiguration of thèse "damages" to articulate, heal and corne to terms with history. This second view is not so much a négation or déniai of the "damages" done, but a working-through them. In short, fragmentation is less becoming a hindrance to

"defining" cultural identity. Articulation allows m e to avoid reducing the cultural identity of a people to what-they-could-have-been-had-history-not-intervened. Indeed, through literature, Filipino authors today fianction, to rephrase Grossberg (1996 [1986]: 157), as active, créative agents who are capable of acting against powers. Dalisay affirms that through a de-Americanization of the English language and by "reftising to be burdened by colonial guilt", "young writers today use English unapologetically for Filipino subjects and purposes" (1998:145). There is a change of perspective from, to tweak Rosenstock-Huessy (in Yerushalmi 1996:93), looking at oneself as a "patient of history"


towards becoming a "physician of history". Re/membering is how I summarise this movement of authors towards healing, reconstruction and re-creation of cultural identity from the postcolonial expérience.

When I use "identity" in this study, I refer to cultural identity, as opposed to

"sexual", "spiritual" or "linguistic" identity. I draw again my définition of "culture" from Stuart Hall. Culture does not directly refer to

...things — novels and paintings, or TV programmes and comics ...

Primarily, culture is concemed with the production and the exchange of meanings - the 'giving and taking of meaning' between the members of Society or group. To say that two peopie belong to the same culture is to say that they interpret the world in roughly the same ways and can express themselves, their thoughts and feelings about the world in ways which will be understood by each other. Thus culture dépends on its participants interpreting meaningftilly what is happening around them, and 'making sensé' of the world in broadly similar ways. ...culture is about feelings, attachments and émotions as well as concepts and ideas (Hall 1997:2).

1.1.5. Recurring Concepts within this Corpus of Work

Aside from Stuart Hall's theory on articulation and cultural identity, I will also draw from a few other concepts, namely, Magic Realism, Benedict Andersen's concept of the imagined community; Jacques Lacan's Mirror Stage; and Homi Bhabha's notion of hybridity.

(36) Magic Realism

It was Franz Roh who coined the term Magischer Realismus in his book Nach Expressionismus. Magischer Realismus. Problème der neuesten europàischen Malerei (1925). Later, Alejo Carpentier appropriated it as lo real maravilloso (Delbaere 1992:

76). Magic realism can be described as "a mode ...suggesting that ordinary life may also be the scène of the extraordinary [so that] what seems most strange tums out to be secretly familiar" (Mikics 1995: 372).

European critic Marc Maufort spécifies fiirther that, through magie realism, one can perceive "sporadic disruptions of traditional realism" as a way of expressing a reaction against the centre as a way of designating a 'fi^acture in the real'" (Maufort 2001:17). For this reason, magie realism can be regarded as "ex-centric" (in Maufort 2001:17). Consequently, through the use of this literary mode, "writers could express their faith in imagination in the face of oppression" (Delbaere 1992: 75). Indeed, in other contexts in the world, such as in Romania, where totalitarian régimes have tried to repress freedom, magical realism has become the preferred literary mode to convey

"transgression [in order] to articulate ideological and geopolitical dissent" (Sandru 2004:

156). Critics such as Zamora and Faris agrée on its appropriateness as "a mode suited to exploring - and transgressing - boundaries, whether the boundaries are ontological, political, geographical, or generic" (Zamora & Faris 1995: 5). Likewise, Slemon believes that "magie realism, at least in a literary context, seems most visibly operative in cultures


situated at the fringes of mainstream hterary traditions (1995: 408). Thus, magical realism can fonction as, using European critic Jeanne Delbaere's words, "energy of the margins" (1992) which allows those from the périphéries to react against a centre. In short, as a literary mode, magical realism can be characterised as subversive. Its capacity to react against the centre explains the mode's compatibility with postcolonial studies.

Furthermore, Delbaere suggests three variants of magie realism: the mythic, the grotesque and the psychic. Mythic realism borrows magie images from the physical

environment itself This variant seems suitable especially for Second World countries

"from which indigenous cultures have largely vanished" (Delbaere 1995:252). Next, Delbaere uses grotesque realism to convey "the anarchie eccentricity of popular tellers who tend to amplify and distort reality to make it more crédible" (1995:252). She further suggests applying it "for any sort of hyperbolic distortion that créâtes a sensé of

strangeness through the confusion or interpénétration of différent realms like

animate/inanimate or humEui/animal" (1995: 252). Lastly, psychic realism désignâtes "a physical manifestation of what takes place inside the psyché" (Delbaere 1995: 255).

Further in this thesis, I will use thèse éléments on magie realism, in particular, to explain the Works of Nick Joaquin and Merlinda Bobis. Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities

I will also draw from Benedict Anderson's now famous définition of the nation as an

"imagined community". That a nation is imagined does not mean that it is "false", but "it


is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion" (Anderson 2006:6). Anderson defines community in the following terms:

It is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fratemity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much as to kill, as willing to die for such limited imaginings. (Anderson 2006: 7).

Anderson does not think of nationalism "with-a-big-N" (2006:5) that is to say, as an ideology. Rather, he associâtes the concept with kinship and religion, rather than with liberalism or fascism. For him, "nation-ness" should be thought of as something "natural"

because it contains an unchosen aspect in it much like gender, skin colour, and parentage, rather than racism and anti-Semitism. While racism erases nation-ness by reducing o n e ' s rival to one's biological physiognomy, nationalism, on the other hand, should be

considered in terms of historical destinies. Jacques Lacan's Mirror Stage

French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan divides the psychic world into three realms: the Real, the Imaginary and the Symbolic. hi a child's development, the Real corresponds to the union with the mother's body where distinction from the self and the other do not exist. The Real is absolutely without fissure, no absence (Evans 1996:159). The Real is


what will be forever lost as soon as the child enters the Mirror Stage, which ushers him or her into the Imaginary realm (Lacan 2000[1949]:44-50)^^. The Mirror Stage characterises a period from, more or less, six months when the child starts to recognise him/herself in the mirror (Lacan 2000 [1949]:45). This phase marks a primary identification of the child to an image to which he or she identifies with. According to Jacqueline Rose, at this point, the mother "grants an image to the child", which can be considered as "a fantasy [because] the very image which places the child divides its identity in two" (Rose 1982:

51-52). This is the reason why identification in the Imaginary is characterised by aggressivity because the child's image is constituted from outside and even against him or herself (Evans 1996:82-84). Hence, one can use the Imaginary as an analogy to fragmentation because a "splitting" takes place. The subject will only transcend this aggressivity in the Symbolic. This child only enters this sphère after having formulated for him or herself an idea of othemess. He or she then starts to perceive the structure of language, where the child as subject is developed (Klages 2001). For Lacan, the use of language compensâtes for the primai loss of the child's link with the Real, or the original union with the mother (cf. Thurschwell 2000:127). Homi Bhabha's Notion of Hybridity

Lastly, I draw the concept of hybridity from Indian intellectual Homi Bhabha, who descnbed this idea in his work, The Location of Culture (1994). Hybridity implies neither one nor the other; neither assimilation nor collaboration, but rather, a Third Space, a

"something else besides" (1994:28, 37, 114 and 1996:58). It is not a third term that

" See also Déthy 1998:18-142, Palmier 1969:22-36, Zizek 2006:80.


"résolves the tension between two cultures ... in a dialectal play of 'récognition'"

(1994:113), rather, "what is irremediably estranging in ... the hybrid...is that the différence of cultures can no longer be identified" (1994:114).

Could this be the case of the Filipino? It is perhaps natural to think that an archipelago which has been home and passage place for Malays, Chinese, Arabs, Americans, Spaniards, Japanese and Chinese would produce hybrid agents, hideed, Malay peoples could perhaps pinpoint the similar skin colour and the attitude of trying to

"get along with others" that Filipinos share with them. But this is not ail: one could also say that the Filipinos' family loyalty and filial piety have been carried over from the Chinese (Nakpil 1973:66-82). Christianity definitely came from Spain, and yet, folk religion and Chinese practices of casting out bad spirits seem to have slipped into Filipino culture as well. Their names sound strangely Spanish, yet, Filipinos speak English in school. A bit of machismo has perhaps been inherited, and yet, the country already boasts of two female présidents^"*. Americans may characterise Filipinos as "a vast Asian Motown chorus" (cf Appadurai 2003 [1990]:28) dancing to Michael Jackson's songs but, as soon as they speak, Taglish (Tagalog and English) cornes out of their mouths.

To paraphrase Bhabha, Filipinos are almost the same — to Americans, Spanish, etc. — but not quite (cf. Bhabha 1994:86). No wonder, as I mentioned above, tension is part of hybridity. No wonder hybrid agents disturb authority, unsettle mere mimicry, escape surveillance (Bhabha 1994:112-113) and create a "moment of panic which reveals

I refer to current président, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former président, Corazon Aquino (1933- 2009), who was voted Time Magazine Woman of the Year in 1986 and Nobel Peace Prize nominee in the same year.



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