Masculine Maneuvers: Family and Profession in the Transnational Labor Market

Summer 2006

Jobert Poblete : Anthropology

Mentor: Lawrence Cohen, Anthropology

The Philippines has become a leader in the “export” of nurses. Filipino nurses are leaving by the thousands every year to take positions in chronically understaffed medical facilities in the United States and around the world. This research project is concerned with this migrant flow. Specifically, I intend to conduct ethnographic research on men doctors retraining as nurses in order to gain access to the American labor market. This practice entails a variety of maneuvers – gendered, professional, and transnational. Why do these men engage in this strategy of “upward” and “outward” mobility? What forces –historical, political, social, etc. – are structuring this phenomenon? What are the effects on family life and professional practice?

I'm excited for the opportunity to pursue my research interests in the Philippines. This is the first time I've had the chance to independently work on my own academic research project. I've found the whole process so far, from doing the initial literature review to writing the research proposal, to be satisfying and exhilarating. I'm excited about starting work on a topic that is relevant to the experiences of my family and that is also relevant to broader national debates about immigration and globalization. I am confident that I will come out of this experience with more skills and insights than I had when I started.