By Jennifer L Bailey; Center of Military History
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Extra resources for Philippine Islands
Extended Southeast Asian families are also an important site of state control, as well as a template for generating ideologies of control. Relations of power are inflected according to gender but also generation. Fathers, mothers, and children, not simply as sociological agents but also as “imaginative constructs” (Hunt 1993, 196), have played important roles in the creation or destruction of states in Southeast Asia. The tendency of different state formations to “feminize,” “masculinize,” and “infantilize” those who participate in the life of the state is another important aspect of the “familyism” of Southeast Asian states.
McCoy argues that the weakness of the Filipino state is culturally “synergistic” with the activities of the country’s powerful yet “fissiparous” rent-seeking kinship networks (McCoy 1994, 1–32). Sidel turns McCoy’s thesis on its head, arguing instead that it was state formation in the Philippines, most crucially the introduction of American-style electoral politics at the local level under American colonial rule, that created possibilities for family “dynasties” and bossism to form: State formation in the Philippines after the precolonial era permitted the survival of private, personal control over the instruments of coercion and taxation.
Scott (W. Scott 1982; see also 1994), who studied early Spanish accounts of Filipino societies in order to reconstruct the nature of preconquest social and political orders. Scott is clear about the hierarchical nature of pre-Spanish Tagalog society and produces linguistic evidence to Studying the State in Southeast Asia 19 suggest that Malay practices based on Indic and Muslim concepts of kingly status and power had been brought to preconquest Manila from Melaka and Brunei (W. Scott 1994, 191–198).