My project aims to contribute to a better understanding of changing forms of sociality in a globalising world by exploring intimate relationships from the point of view of young Siquijodnon women in the Philippines. Here ‘intimate relationships’ encompasses kinship and friendship, as well as romantic and sexual relationships. The project particularly considers how the latter impacts on the former: as young women get involved in romantic relationships, how does this affect their relationships with, and obligations to, others? This is a lens onto Siquijodnon notions of sociality and how these may be changing in a society with increasing contact with other people and ideas.

The project seeks to answer three key questions:

  • How do Siquijodnon understand themselves to be constituted as persons and how are notions of personhood changing across fractures of generation and gender?
  • What space for agency do young women have within norms of sociality on Siquijor?
  • How is the role of intimacy, mediated through interpersonal exchange, changing in a society with increasing capitalist penetration?

I am exploring these questions through long-term ethnographic research among residents of Siquijor Island in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. I have conducted the majority of the fieldwork for the project and during my time at IIAS I will be working on a resultant book manuscript which weaves the narratives of young women with scholarly interpretation.

The project builds on my doctoral research, which focused on meta-narratives of ‘development’ on the same island, probing the ways in which they become entwined with local identities and aspirations.