Dr Jason Vincent Cabañes
Lecturer in International Communication; Deputy Director of Research and Innovation & Programme Leader, BA Communication and Media
0113 343 5803
Clothworkers' Building North, Room 2.27
Office hours: Thursdays, 11.00am - 12.00pm and 1.00pm to 2.00pm
BA (magna cum laude) (Ateneo de Manila), MA (Ateneo de Manila), PhD (Leeds)
I started as Lecturer at the School of Media and Communication in 2014. Previous to this, I held a full PhD Scholarship at the University of Leeds (2009-2012) and an ASEAN Graduate Research Fellowship at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (2007).
My current research interests are primarily about using ethnographic approaches to explore:
(1) how media contribute to shaping the texture of people’s experiences of migration and multiculturalism.
My ongoing research projects look into how ICTs matter to migrant intimacies and solidarities in the cities of both the ‘West’ and the ‘postcolonies’. Included in these is a book I am currently co-editing on ‘Mobile Media and Asian Social Intimacies’, which is planned for publication in 2019.
My previous projects have been on:
- photography-based collaborative research and the mediation of migrant voices (articles in Visual Studies, 2017; International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2017)
- the mediation of multiculturalism in a postcolonial city in the developing world (article in Media, Culture, and Society, 2014)
- mobile phones and the conjugal power relations between migrant mothers and left-behind fathers (article in New Media and Society, 2012)
- digital media and the public connection of elite migrants (article in South East Asia Research, 2011)
(2) how media might be harnessed for social and political development.
Within the internationally composed Netwon Tech4Dev network, I presently co-lead the research strand on how digital labour is transforming work conditions in the Philippines. I have recently co-authored a research report on ‘Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines’.
My previous projects have been on:
- social media and the rise of political trolls in a transitional democracy (book chapter in The Duterte Reader, 2017)
- alternative news narratives and the possibility of cooperation between photojournalists and grassroots activists (report for World Press Photo, 2016)
- communication theories and anti-corruption initiatives by governments around the world (report for The World Bank, 2008)
For academic year 2017-18, I lead on the following modules:
- COMM2811: Thinking Photographically: Developing Approaches to Photography (UG)
- COMM1970: Introduction to Media and Communication Theory (UG)
- COMM5380M: The Media and Democratisation: Global Perspectives (PG)
I also contribute lectures to the following modules:
- COMM1230: Introduction to Media and Communication Research (UG)
- COMM3250/COMM5250M: Feminism, Identity, and Media (UG/PG)
- COMM3260/COMM5260M: Understanding the Audience (UG/PG)
I am Deputy Director of Research and Innovation and concurrently Programme Leader for BA Communication and Media.
(2017) “Telling migrant stories in collaborative photography research: Photographic practices and the mediation of migrant voices”, International Journal of Cultural Studies.
DOI: 10.1177/1367877917733542, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/121624/
This article examines how photographic practices in collaborative research might mediate migrant voices. It looks at the case of Shutter Stories, a collaborative photography project featuring images by Indian and Korean migrants in Manila, the Philippines. Drawing on life-story interviews and participant observation data, I identify two ways that the photographic selection practices in the project mediated the migrants’ photo essays. One is how subject selection practices led the participants to use both strategic and ‘medium’ essentialism in choosing their topics. The second is how technique selection practices enabled the participants to express vernacular creativity in crafting their images. I argue that the mediation instantiated by Shutter Stories fostered the participants’ ability to use photo essays to articulate voices that simultaneously conveyed their personal stories and engaged the viewing public. However, I also identify the limits of this mediation, indicating how future projects can better enable migrant voices.
(2017) “Migrant narratives as photo stories: on the properties of photography and the mediation of migrant voices”, Visual Studies. 32.1: 33-46.
DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2016.1245114, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/104324/
© 2016 International Visual Sociology Association. This article examines how the properties of photography might mediate voice, defined as the capacity to speak and to be heard speaking about one’s life and the social conditions in which one’s life is embedded. It focuses on the affordances that the image provides for migrant cultural minorities to articulate such a voice within the context of collaborative research. I look at the case of Shutter Stories, a collaborative photography exhibition featuring the photo stories of Indian and Korean migrants from Manila, The Philippines. Using participant observation data, I show that it was photography’s ability to be all at once indexical, iconic, and symbolic that became important in voice as ‘speaking’. It allowed migrants to tell rich, multimodal narratives about their lives, albeit with some key limitations. I also show that it was photography’s inability to fix meanings with finality that mattered in voice as ‘being heard’. Although the locals who visited the exhibition engaged with the photo stories in an overwhelmingly positive manner, they often did not completely grasp the migrants’ complex narratives. All these data indicate that collaborative photography exhibition projects should not just be about how migrants speak and are heard. They should also be about how migrants can listen, so that they can adjust what they say to how they are being heard. This is a valuable reminder that in conceptualising photography and migrant cultural minority voices, we also need to take into account the broader process of multicultural dialogue.
(2014) “Multicultural mediations, developing world realities: Indians, Koreans and Manila’s entertainment media”, Media, Culture and Society. 36.5: 628-643.
DOI: 10.1177/0163443714532979, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/84851/
In this article, I examine the mediation of multiculturalism in the developing world city of Manila, the Philippines. Drawing on both a thematic analysis of the Manila-centric Philippine entertainment media and six focus group discussions with the city’s local Filipinos, I reveal that this instance of mediation is entangled with the broader discourses of the Philippine postcolonial nationalist project. For one, the mediation of multiculturalism in Manila tends to symbolically marginalize the city’s Indians and Koreans and, in so doing, reinforces existing negative discourses about them. I contend that this is linked to the locals’ preoccupation with establishing a unifying cultural identity that tends to make them elide the issue of their own internal cultural diversity, as well as of the increasing diasporic population of the city. Second, the said mediation also tends to valorize the lighter-skinned Koreans over the darker-skinned Indians. I posit that this is related to how the locals’ discourse of cultural homogeneity has resulted in their continued reluctance to publicly discuss the persistence of their unspoken skin-tone-based racial hierarchy not only of themselves, but also of their cultural others.
(2012) “Of mobile phones and mother-fathers: Calls, texts, and conjugal power relations of mother-away Filipino families”, New Media and Society. 14.6: 916-930.
DOI: 10.1177/1461444811435397, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/120799/
This article examines how the mobile phone might matter in the exercise of conjugal power relations between left-behind fathers and migrant mothers in transnational Filipino families. Drawing on in-depth interviews of ten pairs of fathers and children from mother-away families, it reveals that the mobile phone provides parents avenues to both expand and hold on to their traditionally gender-differentiated roles. This means that while the technology mitigates some of the effects of migration, it also complicates the already complex relationships between these fathers and mothers. Unfortunately, this situation tends to amplify the tremendous difficulties of having to deal with two opposing forces: the changed realities in a transnational Filipino family and the traditional expectations of Philippine society. So while the mobile phone can lead to increasing cooperation between left-behind fathers and migrant mothers, it has mostly resulted in exacerbating the already tremendous chasms that divide them.
(2011) “Engaged but not immersed: Tracking the mediated public connection of Filipino elite migrants in London”, South East Asia Research. 19.2: 197-224.
While most of the literature highlights the social, economic and cultural aspects of Filipino migration, this study explores its political dimension by focusing on the public connection of Filipino elite migrants in London. Unlike other types of Filipino migrants, such as Americanized balikbayans and 'low-skilled' labour migrants, elite migrants are expected to return physically to the homeland as part of their nationalistic duty to 'lead the nation'. From their interviews and participant observation, the authors discover that overseas scholars indeed maintain a strong interest in homeland political issues through heavy news consumption on the Internet. However, this has also fostered an ambiguous kind of public connection. On the one hand, elite migrants remain engaged with issues that they hope to address on their eventual return, but on the other hand they are not immersed with 'other' Filipino people in the diaspora. Their political engagement involves talk and mediated conversations with limited face-to-face collaborations with other migrants. This kind of public connection lends itself to long-distance particularistic communication and a great volume of discussion, but limited and short-term forms of public activity. The authors argue that elite migrants' practices of political engagement are inscribed in continuing socio-historical – and fundamentally classed – divides in Philippine society. Further, rather than enabling cross-class communications and connections, the media are frequently used by elite migrants to maintain political, economic, social and cultural divides.
(2017) “The rise of trolls in the Philippines (and what we can do about it)”, In: Curato N (eds.) A Duterte Reader: Critical Essays On Rodrigo Duterte's Early Presidency. Quezon City, Philippines: Ateneo de Manila University Press. 231-250
Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/118804/
(2011) “The Philippines”, In: Barnett GA (eds.) Encyclopedia of Social Networks. Sage. 706-708
(2009) “Pinoy postings: On the online cultural identity performances of young Filipino professionals in Singapore”, In: Banerjee I; Muppidi SR (eds.) Changing Media, Changing Societies: Media and the Millennium Development Goals. Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre. 158-190
(2008) “Net negotiations: How Filipino families domesticate the Internet”, In: Proceedings of the 10th DLSU Science & Technology Congress. Manila: De La Salle University. 29-31
(2018) Architects of Networked Disinformation: Behind the Scenes of Troll Accounts and Fake News Production in the Philippines.
(2012) Project kuwento (story): A qualitative approach to understandingTV audiences in urban and rural Philippines. Manila: AGB Nielsen.
(2008) Case studies on communication and anti-corruption efforts. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
(2015) “Media and the city: Cosmopolitanism and difference”, JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION. 65.5: E9-E12.
(2014) “Book Review: Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World, by Eric Gordon and Adriana de Souza e Silva”, Popular Communication. Taylor and Francis. 12: 69-71.
Research Centres & Groups
At the School of Media and Communication, I am Convenor of the Visual Media and Communication Research Group. I am also a member of the Digital Research Group and the Global Communication Research Group.
I am Book Reviews Editor for Television and New Media (2013-present).