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Montecillo, Lady Katrine Calisin Contemporary Societies III-16 BSE-HISTORY

Issues and Problems in M/TH (2:30-4:00)

SELF,NATION,CITIZENSHIP: AN INTRODUCTION IN PHILIPPINE SOCIOLOGY

SUMMARY I. NATIONHOOD The discourse of nationhood and social responsibility pervades almost every area of Philippine social science. The Filipino nation is unfinished business, and therefore it is understandable that in public discourse the nations needs take moral precedence over individual fulfillment. Thus, the book takes up the troubled quest of the modern Filipino for autonomy and meaning in the bosom of his own society, a young nation that is itself aspiring to grow into a full modern nationhood in a globalized and, some say, postmodern era. None of us is born Nationalist. The thought of the first part revolved around this statement. According to the works of some famous historians, the existing spirit of nationaism which is very sommon to filipinos since time immemorial up to now, is more of a n extrinsically inflicted concept.We have been living our lives, bearing a self-concept thrown to us by our colonizers.We were practically obliged to live in a world where the words of the powerful few reigns.So, how can we even project our own selfconcept, if we are not that sure what we really were. We are put in a situation where in we are trapped inside a ventriloquists world where in the greatest puppeteer, Society, inflicts us about every single thing about our own self. If my interpretations are right, I think this part of the book suggests that there are two important elements to be considered if nationhood is to conceived. First is the element of individual concept,and the other is the element of sense of belongingness into a collective group(nation).For us to have the idea of a nation, we should first be able to have a concrete idea of ourselves. Likewise, we can never understand ourselves if we dont have a point of reference wherein we will be able to compare our self evaluation to the outside world. The bottomline is that, Nationhood is the continuing effort of knowing ones self.The self concept and the idea of sense of belongingness into a group must always be interchangably re-examined and reconsidered in the long run. Because concepts are dynamic, and therefore they are changing.Concepts do not stop at being discovered, they survive and they flourish into ultimate refinement. Therefore, rebuilding a nation is a never ending process, of rediscovering, reconsidering, and re-examining concepts

from our very selves up to the larger scale which will then involve the different facets of the society. Above all, the first part of the book, clearly encourages the next generation to reinvent themselves. Reconsider examining issues from different points of view, For this is the very thing that we can do to be able to reinvent as well our concept of a nation.This opens so much doors for clues and hints on how to come up into a more concrete and profound concept of nationhood through the collective help of the well-read contributors. II. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SELF This part focuses on the quest of every individual to self-identity. The continuing effort of every person to balance the struggle of self creatin at the same time, dealing with the contingencies of life. The constitution of the self is a long term goal. It was greatly stressed by collective professionals that the unity of self is not something that is pre given but something that must be accomplished through conscious effort. Collectively, self is a collaboratio of concepts and ideas brought about by the different facets of life. From the metaphysical perspectives to the palpable outcomes of societal struggles. The project of self-creation, is just like telling our own narratives. But that does not mean that self-constitution would be that easy. To think that every individual is a social animal, and socially we always have to be dealing within our society. The project of self-institution must then be put into test. In a social mileu wherein people have equal access to selfcreation. The bottomline is that, the project of self-creation stresses the potential of each person, positioned spatio-temporally in specific community to stand out and be different. Now, after considering the different factors which creates ones self, from the metaphysical activities of the brain, up to the different facets of the community, there is this free space left for a person to decide whether to use it or not. The individual will be left to decide if everything he learned is enough to create himself or there are still breakthroughs to be discovered. This is where an individual will be put into test. If one will still be able to crossover the borderlines set by our society and be able to break away into the den of ones freedom. III. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND PERSONAL AUTONOMY The third part of the book, for me, is the application of the concepts conceived on the first two parts of the book. First is the social responsibility of a person, for we, humans are mobile, and we need to able to move around the society in accordance to other social animals. It was also stressed that the biggest challenge that an individual may have is to be able to live freely inside a society. According to Jean Jacques Rousseau, Man is born free but everywhere in chains. Meaning, our individuality always comes with responsibility. No matter how free we may

be, we will always find ourselves tangled into circumstances brought about by our nature of being a social animal. Therefore, the third part of the book projects a challenge to each and everyone of us. The challenge of citizenship. While we perfect our individual self concepts, we must always be reminded that we are mindful citizens of our society. PERSONAL REFLECTION The discourse of nationhood and social responsibility pervades almost every area of Philippine social science. The Filipino nation is unfinished business, and therefore it is understandable that in public discourse the nations needs take moral precedence over individual fulfillment. Thus, the book takes up the troubled quest of the modern Filipino for autonomy and meaning in the bosom of his own society, a young nation that is itself aspiring to grow into a full modern nationhood in a globalized and, some say, postmodern era. Well, I think this book made me realize various things. From my individuality to my responsibilities, being a citizen of a country. When I read this book, I felt very unaccomplished. I was like thinking that, most of my life was wasted through doing simple things instead of enriching myself into becoming a better person not only for my country but most importantly for myself. Filipinos also have certain advantages in learning sociology. Their concepts of society and the individual, however limited, are often based ondirect experience rather than mediated through ideologized institutionssuch as the family, schooling and the state. They hold an irreverent attitudetoward the verities of public life, making its questioning much easier thanin western societies with politically correct views on most things. Filipinos can also cope much better than most westerners with the inevitable contradictions and perplexities of modern life without the temptation togrossly simplify them. There may be many superstitious and ignorant Filipinos but very few genuine fanatics. Almost anything can be an object of fun and mockery. In an often and increasingly incomprehensible world,mirth is the only reasonable response. I felt so much adoration towards different quotations in the book. They were strikingly affective most especially to people like me, who is still to break otut of my shell and discover my craft. The book is inspirational in a sense that it awakens people. Like it suggests that its the right to reexamine and reinvent ones self. Because well never know when death will caught us off guard.

REFLECTION AS FOR THE BOOK They are short and sweet, but each brings salient points to the issues of Philippine identity. They would be perfect for the classroom, especially a high school seminar or discussion group. This is a collection of short essays written by Randy David, one of the Philippines foremost sociologists. David is also one of its few seriousnewspaper writers. This is a collection of his articles that have appearedover the last seven years in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. They are far-ranging,covering issues such as martial law, child sexuality, poverty and Asian values.They also include reflective pieces on his family and early memories as wellas theoretical reflections on globalization, postmodernity and the mass media. David brings his incisive analysis on these topics using mostlyordinary language rather than the abstract discourse of academics. Under these conditions, how appropriate is a collection of shortnewspaper articles as an introduction to a serious academic discipline suchas sociology? Like most things, it depends on the teacher using it. In thehands of an experienced teacher, who is able to draw out more detailedarguments from the undeveloped and unverified points suggested by David,this book can be a very useful way of showing the relevance of the disciplineto unspecialized students. It may in fact stimulate them to pursue thesequestions more systematically in advanced courses. But in the hands of apoorly prepared teacher, eager to appear informed on a wide range of topics,its effects may be counterproductive. It can give rise to an impression thatsociology consists of short, incisive and suggestive sketches, bricolage, rather than serious empirical and theoretical investigations of social life.