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Reconfiguring space, mobilizing livelihood: Street vending, legality, and work in the Philippines

Milgram, Lynne B. (2011) Reconfiguring space, mobilizing livelihood: Street vending, legality, and work in the Philippines. Journal of Developing Societies, 27 (3-4). pp. 261-293. ISSN 0169-796X

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Official URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/016979...


In the Philippines, the liberalization of the country’s economy has meant increasing rural to urban migration and dramatic growth in informal sector trade. Women, in particular, building on their historical roles as the country’s primary public and regional market traders, have made Philippine city streets their new business venue for itinerant, but viable work selling different goods: fresh produce, manufactured goods, cooked food – gendered occupations common throughout Southeast Asia. That their livelihood enterprises occur within public spaces not customarily used for commercial activities, means that such trades raise questions about who has access to and rights over such street spaces. Focusing on the growing street economy in Baguio City, the industrialized and administrative center of the northern Philippines, this article argues that female street vendors, through their livelihoods, unsettle essentialist categories such as informal/formal work, appropriate space use, and legal/illegal practice. Many of these women may appear unprepared for labor organizing, as few have the fi nancial resources or the training they need to protect their rights. Yet, by organizing themselves into vendor associations, using letter writing campaigns and assuming innovative leadership positions, vendors successfully protested the 2007 Baguio City bylaws banning street trade in the central business district. The concessions these women won on selected laws enabled them to capture urban spaces consolidating their access to livelihood despite the constraints they face and the differences among street-based groups. Recognizing such gendered place-based politics makes nuanced analyses of Baguio City’s street vendors important to policy makers and social scientists seeking to understand how vendors’ actions may contribute to informed renegotiations of rights to integral work

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philippines, Baguio City, liberalization, informal economy, female street trades
Divisions: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2018 13:31
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2021 08:45
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2422

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