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In Pursuit of ProgressNarratives of Development on a Philippine Island$
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Hannah C. M. Bulloch

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824858865

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824858865.001.0001

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Poverty and Prosperity

Poverty and Prosperity

(p.24) 2 Poverty and Prosperity
In Pursuit of Progress

Hannah C. M. Bulloch

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter introduces Siquijor Island and sketches the socio-economic terrain of the village. It then considers key material markers of development—such as infant formula and concrete block houses—and how these are deployed by individuals and families as they compete for status. While this aspect of the local concept of development emphasizes social mobility anchored in conspicuous consumption, it sits in tension with a contending local ideal of how one should live. Ang simpul nga kinabuhi, the simple life, involves contentment in an austere lifestyle and attention to personal relationships. These ideals respectively embrace and reject liberal norms of enterprise, individual accumulation, competition and the defining of identity in terms of consumer goods. The chapter shows that even within individuals, notions of development are not necessarily singular or fully coherent and these tensions are tied to ambivalent assumptions concerning what constitutes “proper” social and economic relations.

Keywords:   poverty, wealth, consumerism, competition, status, the good life, individualism, reciprocity, food, livelihoods

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