Learning to love at the violent periphery of Philippine society: Towards a Peadagogy of Love and Survival

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This article explores the meaning of love to women whose lives are governed by various forms of violence and marginalization in the shadows of political conflict. Based on five months of fieldwork among Muslim women in Palawan, the Philippines, I analyze the empirical notion of learning to love as it occurred in the marriage stories of women belonging to two families. My conceptual answer is the term “pedagogy of love,” which emphasizes that the learning of love is shaped by structural constraints, but also how it allows for becoming as families and selves. The analysis explores how loving, as much as failing in love, is embedded in patriarchal relationality, represents a central aspect of moral education taught and cultivated among women in the family and in the mosque. Moreover, I stress how learning to love mirrors learning to survive in social and material terms due to the women’s circumstances. On this basis, I argue that a pedagogy of love brings to the fore the intimate work of women in dealing with force, violent living circumstances, and the reworking of their marital faiths, revealing love as a matter of subsuming into the family, togetherness, and survival.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFeminist Anthropology
Number of pages25
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020


  • Relationality
  • Violent governance
  • Political conflict
  • Women
  • the Philippines
  • A pedagogy of love

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