Mula Sa Masa, Tungo Sa Masa, From the People, To the People: Building Migrant Worker Power through Participatory Action Research


  • Valerie Francisco-Menchavez San Francisco State University
  • Ethel Tungohan York University.



borders, migration, diaspora, security, South Asia, mobility


In this article, we explore the possibilities of Participatory Action Research (PAR) producing ethical and nuanced knowledge that contributes to developing Filipino migrant workers’ capacity for sustainable political organizing. We discuss our projects with Filipino migrant organizations in the U.S. and Canada. We theorize on the potential of PAR with migrants who are part of highly precarious workforces in global cities. Additionally, we, as immigrant women of colour and scholars, highlight the tensions between academic ethos that prioritizes a rapid ‘publish-or-perish’ culture and the ethos of PAR, which puts into place collaborative processes that can be at odds with the ‘tempo’ of academic work. We highlight the tensions between the academic and reproductive labour of PAR, with the latter being seen by many academic institutions as an ‘inconvenience’ impeding productivity.

Author Biographies

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez, San Francisco State University

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University in California. Her book entitled, The Labor of Care: Filipina Migrants Transnational Families in the Global Digital Age (University of Illinois Press, 2018), explores the dynamics of gender and technology of care work in Filipino transnational families in the Philippines and the U.S.

Ethel Tungohan, York University.

Ethel Tungohan is the Canada Research Chair in Canadian Migration Policy, Impacts and Activism, and Assistant Professor of Politics and Social Science at York University.


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How to Cite

Francisco-Menchavez, V., & Tungohan, E. (2020). Mula Sa Masa, Tungo Sa Masa, From the People, To the People: Building Migrant Worker Power through Participatory Action Research. Migration Letters, 17(2), 257–264.