This topic recognizes the complex, paradoxical ways in which the formal status of citizenship—legal inclusion in and recognition by a state apparatus—intersects with the desire for belonging—the feeling of being at home and welcomed by one’s fellow subjects. As Evelyn Nakano Glenn asserts in Unequal Freedom: How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor (Harvard University Press, 2002), “Citizenship is not just a matter of formal legal status; it is a matter of belonging, including recognition by others in the community” (52).
As Filipinos move around the world in search of work, they must negotiate competing, often contradictory demands. While the Philippine state facilitates work emigration, it simultaneously demands that diasporic Filipinos demonstrate their loyalty by exacting salary remittances as a form of patriotic duty and framing them as “national heroes." With a complicated imperial history, Filipinos' citizenship and belonging is always up for grabs and unsettled.