A Comparative Analysis of Two Studies on Utang na Loob

Lawless, Robert
July 1966
Philippine Sociological Review;Jul66, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p168
Academic Journal
The article discusses a comparison of two studies of Utang na Loob. In recent years the Utang na loob concept has generated much interest among students of Philippine culture. Two authorative studies of utang na loob are Charles Kaut's "Utang na Loob: A System of Contractual Obligation among Tagalogs and Mary Hollnsteiner's "Reciprocity in the Lowland Philippines." There are similarities as well as differences between both the studies. On the level of scholarship, Hollnsteiner translates utang na loob only twice, once as "debt of gratitude" and then later as "a debt inside oneself."Both translations are inadequate. Kaut translates it as a "debt of primary obligation" and then gives the term extensive linguistic treatment which is more satisfactory. Hollnsteiner offers no description of the social context in which utang na loob operates. Hollnsteiner's paper is on reciprocity, not only on utang na loob, and she investigated two other types of reciprocity, contractual and quasi-contractual. Kaut's and her paper coincide only on utang na loob. Kaut's study should be read for good scientific data and expert interpretation, and Hollnstenier may be read as an impressionistic study brightened by some interesting and important insights.


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