Annotation: Jocano, F. Landa. 1998. Filipino Social Organization

Jocano, F. Landa. 1998. Filipino Social Organization: Traditional Kinship and Family Organization. Manila: Punlad Research House.

Using functionalist arguments, the book argues that the family is the Filipino’s “social universe,” and that it is the source of Filipino’s activities – from economic support, social status, religion, psychological assistance, to care and security in old age (156). Jocano writes that it is “possible to generalize about Filipino social organization if we start with the basic institutions of kinship and the family” (4), and that “underneath the veneer” and “outer trappings” of modernity, one can still see the traditional and institutional values of the Filipino (3). Despite the migration of families from the rural towns to the cities, Jocano argues that families bring with them “rural institutional values and attitudes” (3). The author recognizes critiques against making such generalizations, but argues that such claims are instead based on “exaggerated stereotypes” about the Filipino character (153). He then proceeds to suggest that there are indeed basic features of the structure and organization of community life that are “common to all Filipino ethnic groups” (153). Social framework is based on one’s blood kinship, and on barkada or samahan (peer group). The Filipino kinship structure is bilateral and closeness is based on personal choices rather than the system’s organization principles. Kinship is also stratified generationally, such that each generation is distinct from the others, and old age equates with wisdom and experience (154-5). There are socialization practices that appear in various modifications all over the country, such as: andukha (child-centered personalized care), pananagutan (obligations), and pagkamatapat (loyalty). To isolate oneself from a group, and to not observe the cultural themes of pagkamaramdamin (sensitivity), katugunan (reciprocity) and kabuuan (collectivity), is “to incur the wrath of others” (160). Jocano also writes about “postulates” that are activated within the immediate and the wider kin. These include respect for the aged, reciprocity, modesty in speech, sincerity, dignity, and observance of religious practices.

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