B. Lynne Milgram
Lynne Milgram’s research is rooted in anthropology, but lends itself to interdisciplinary collaborations of all kinds. Analyzing the commoditization of crafts, consumption and small-scale entrepreneurial activities in the northern Philippines, Milgram’s doctoral research traced the channels through which women exercise agency in their changing roles in craft production and trade with the advent of global market forces. Subsequently analyzing the socioeconomic and political impacts of microfinance development projects mounted throughout the Philippines, Milgram explored the relationship between the institutional claim to empowerment and the capacity of program structures to generate ‘real’ opportunities for women.
Milgram’s current projects examine Philippine women’s engagement in the global trade and consumption of secondhand clothing between the Philippines and Hong Kong and women’s work as street vendors. Both enterprises straddle legal/illegal practice and have emerged as growing arenas of labour given increasing rural-to-urban migration and declines in formal-sector jobs. Milgram argues that these women operationalize multiple work options to simultaneously negotiate their positions as sites of globally competitive economic activity and local struggles over state restructuring. Milgram makes her findings applicable for policy formation by government and non-government organizations seeking to sustain livelihood opportunities for women via a range of appropriate initiatives.
Keywords: Philippines: gender; formal/informal economies; legal/illegal practice; transformations in urban public space; street vending; secondhand clothing trade between the Philippines and Hong Kong; agricultural commodity chains; urban public market trade and modernization; material culture. Toronto: transnational entrepreneurship between the Philippines and Canada