Annotation: Jocano, F. Landa. 1969. Growing Up in a Philippine Barrio

Jocano, F. Landa. 1969. Growing Up in a Philippine Barrio: Case Studies in Education and Culture. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Based on his fieldwork from 1955-65 done in a peasant community on Panay Island, Central Philippines, Jocano looks at the life cycle of the individual from birth to death (following Ruth Benedict) to show how social organization is itself an educational institution and process. In the case of the village of Malitbog (a fictitious name), which remains relatively isolated from the media, main roads, and contact with other villages, the socialization and enculturation of children as members of kin and peer groups outweigh the influence of the formal educational process. Aspects of culture that were acquired during childhood are modified as individuals grow up, and these are then passed on to the next generation with modifications. Kinship (based on blood, affinity or religious ritual) serves as the blueprint for the social order in the village (Chapter 10). The behaviour of the child reflects the family’s standing in the community (99), and thus punishing a child is a normative disciplinary practice. There are two standards of behaviour that reinforce the network of relations in the village, according to the author: 1) ‘relational imperatives,’ which refer to the collective responsibilities over certain behaviours (e.g. reciprocal exchange of food); and, 2) ‘teleological imperatives,’ which refer to the sets of beliefs that articulate supernaturally prescribed modes of conduct (Chapter 11). While children are raised according to values that link them to the “overlapping circles of kin” (Chapter 9), the belief in the supernatural (a hybrid of Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and indigenous beliefs) also works as a form of social control because of its sanctioning power. These two imperatives begin to be taught during infanthood, and are reinforced all throughout the life cycle, molding the individual into an acceptable member of the community. Finally, the author writes that because of the lack of continuity between formal education and community life, what the child learns in the classroom has little practical usefulness in everyday life and is thus easily forgotten.


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