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How Does Religion Shape Filipino Immigrants` Connection to the Public Sphere? Imagining a Different Self-Understanding of Modernity
Manalang, Aprilfaye

2013, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Bowling Green State University, American Culture Studies/Sociology.
Scholarly studies of immigration, religion, and race and ethnicity debate the role of religion in modern society, highlighting the salience of religion among post-1965 immigrants. In this dissertation, I explored the following question: How does religion shape Filipino immigrants` connection to the public sphere? To that end, I investigated: 1) How does religion shape immigrants` understanding of American citizenship? 2) How do immigrants constitute a sense of empowered citizenship via the civic and religious institutions they navigate? 3) Does religion act as a preserving force of traditional Filipino culture within American society? 4) To what extent does religion foster unique transnational ties to the homeland?

Focusing on Filipino-Americans` stories and utilizing a humanistically-oriented sociological approach, I immersed myself in `lived religion` (McRoberts, 2004), engaged in participant observation, and conducted 60 in-depth interviews of Filipino-American adults in Virginia Beach, Virginia-one of the most highly populated Filipino areas on the East coast. I attended events at St. Gregory Catholic Church, the largest Filipino Catholic parish in the city, and the Filipino-American Community Action Group, the only local Filipino political organization. I also interviewed key leaders, including former Philippine president Fidel Ramos.

Although religion encourages civic engagement, Filipino-Americans` political engagement is largely limited due to regionalism and the community associations that Filipino-Americans craft in the U.S. Catholicism reinforces regionalism via ethnic-specific Catholic practices like the celebration of patron saints who represent hometowns in the Philippines. Regionalism limits the ability of Filipino-Americans to collectively perceive themselves as `Filipino-American`, unify, and politically mobilize. However, civic organizations such as the Filipino American Community

Action Group attempt to transcend regional differences, foster inter-ethnic pluralism, and establish a strong coalition of Filipino-Americans rather than organizing based on regional identities. The overwhelming majority of Filipino-Americans in this community immigrated and gained citizenship by way of the U.S. Navy. Because of this historical-American tie, most interviewees reported a strong sense of American nationalism and a sense of utang ng loob or `indebtedness` to the U.S. for their American citizenship. I hope to unravel the crucial role of religion and its relationship with immigrant integration, pluralism, race/ethnicity, and transnationalism through the lens of the religious and nonreligious experiences of post-1965 immigrants.
Rekha Mirchandani, Dr. (Committee Co-Chair)
Donald McQuarie, Dr. (Committee Co-Chair)
Ellen Berry, Dr. (Committee Member)
Rhys Williams, Dr. (Committee Member)
Robyn Rodriguez, Dr. (Committee Member)
Nancy Patterson, Dr. (Committee Member)
Sridevi Menon, Dr. (Committee Member)
242 p.

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Manalang, A. (2013). How Does Religion Shape Filipino Immigrants` Connection to the Public Sphere? Imagining a Different Self-Understanding of Modernity. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Manalang, Aprilfaye. "How Does Religion Shape Filipino Immigrants` Connection to the Public Sphere? Imagining a Different Self-Understanding of Modernity." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Bowling Green State University, 2013. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 Sep 2017.

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Manalang, Aprilfaye "How Does Religion Shape Filipino Immigrants` Connection to the Public Sphere? Imagining a Different Self-Understanding of Modernity." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Bowling Green State University, 2013. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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