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'Here, we don't just trade goods, we also "sell" people's lives': sari-sari stores as nodes of partial surveillance in a Philippine fishing community

Turgo, Nelson 2013. 'Here, we don't just trade goods, we also "sell" people's lives': sari-sari stores as nodes of partial surveillance in a Philippine fishing community. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 34 (3) , pp. 373-389. 10.1111/sjtg.12033

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Abstract

Home-based neighbourhood stores (locally known in the Philippines as sari-sari stores) are a ubiquitous feature of most Philippine communities. They are small to medium-size trade stores not unlike convenience stores in the West where people buy goods in small quantities. In the Philippines, these stores play a vital role in providing everyday economic sustenance to low-income communities. But more than an economic hub, sari-sari stores also function as a social hub that connects people and acts as eyes and ears of the community through the people who make use of their services. In a sense, sari-sari stores are the community's ‘myopticon’ where people's day-to-day dealings with everyone in the community and its environs are reported and discursively brought under the gaze of the ‘entire community’. Being myopticon as opposed to Foucault's panopticon, surveillance in sari-sari stores is partial, non-hierarchicalized and could be resisted by people in the community. Nonetheless, regardless of the ‘myoptic’ features of sari-sari stores, their presence in the community ‘interpellates’ everyone's daily existence and instantiates a discursive space from which a structure of informal social control is enacted among community members. Sari-sari stores then are an important reminder of how our built environment is also about contestation and negotiation of everyday life as we make use of space and as the architectonics of space both constrain and empower our manoeuvring in places.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gossip; myopticon; panopticon; Philippines; surveillance; sari-sari (trade) stores.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0129-7619
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/61226

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