Filipinas dance their way to acceptance
: an ethnological interpretation of two regional Queensland communities

  • Frances Langford Chan

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The approximately 250 Philippines-born individuals on the Fraser Coast of Queensland are primarily a single gender population. I questioned why these Filipinas are maintaining some aspects of culture and not others. Language, food, religion and dance were singled out for special attention. The focus on dance was because of its public relations value, as well as a consideration of whether multicultural performances grants may be responsible for perpetuation of dances. The wide diversity in regional, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds of the women was examined. Organisations helping to maintain Filipino culture, and a new religious development, were observed. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 Filipinas in Maryborough and 30 in the neighbouring city of Hervey Bay. Five non-Filipino husbands, 16 children, two Filipino couples and one Filipino male were interviewed, as were people who are involved with Filipinos. This included multicultural workers, a Catholic priest and a politician. Participant observation included membership in Filipino organisations; attendance at events featuring Filipino performances and participation in social gatherings.

    The study found that despite the lack of Filipino males, the women are maintaining many cultural elements. They use Tagalog regularly among themselves, although they are generally failing to teach it to the children. Filipino foods are consumed daily, by most of the women, but not generally their families. Many Filipinas are involved in religious activities. Dances are frequently performed for the wider community—by women and some children—thus improving the Filipino image. it was concluded that the lack of adult males will limit the future retention of Filipino languages and food. Dances are likely to be maintained as long as there is broader community and government support. it was also concluded that government multicultural policy, the size of an ethnic community and its gender balance have an impact on cultural continuity and change.
    Date of AwardNov 2001
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Carment (Supervisor)

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