Elevate Difference

Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization

Things Fall Away is a scholarly book, not composed for easy reading or comprehension. Tadiar writes as an expert in the areas of political science, anthropology and economics. Consider the following: _Refurbished as well as unreconstructed nationalism and transnationalisms, battles for state power and civil liberties, identity-based claims to political and economic enfranchisement, liberal-democratic ideals of civil society—such are the familiar trajectories of world-historical agency in these times, trajectories from which all other manner of human and parahuman lives, pasts, presents, and futures, cultural imaginations, and virtual realities are jettisoned. These things fall away…_Yet Tadiar writes poetically at times and offers beautifully detailed and researched explanations of the dangers and losses we face as the world undergoes a new transformation: globalization. Given the current economic and political struggles we face, Tadiar’s examination of the post-colonization period of the Philippines and the knowledge it offers about the process we are undergoing is particularly timely as well as brilliant. She brings heart to her explanations as she illustrates the role of literature and poetry in providing a picture of effects of these changes on the subaltern.

She views global politics and economics through the lens of feminist theory. Her description of how Philippine women, since the beginning of the military dictatorship in 1972, became the primary economic asset of the country is eye opening. In chapter one, she offers a joke that circulated in the Philippines in the 1980s: “Gas, rice, sugar—everything is going up! The only things coming down are panties!”

While lamenting the misogynist view, the author describes the role of prostitution as a prospering industry for the country. Tadiar sees a parallel in the Philippines being a hostess nation, servicing the needs and desires of her clients.

The author writes graphically about the effects of economic and political transformations. She will not let that history die or disappear and she warns of the consequences of building a culture on human wounds.

Tadiar offers the concept of global tragedy, a general feeling that there is no hope and efforts to change the world of the subaltern have failed. She also speaks of divine sorrow and the hope that change is still possible.

Written by: Karyn Hall, October 15th 2009

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