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Dr Nelson Turgo

Dr Nelson Turgo

Research Associate, SIRC


For more than a decade, I have been looking at the many facets of seafaring life, from issues related to how time is structured at sea to the shifting expressions and articulations of masculinity amongst Filipino seafarers. I am most interested in how sociology can illuminate aspects related to health and safety at sea. For most of the research projects that I do, I engage with seafarers in ports, training centres and onboard merchant vessels. For the latter, I sail with them for at least a month on average, observing how life is conducted at sea, communing with them during meals times and shore leaves. In between living the (academic) life at high seas, that is, doing interviews and participant observation, rough weather could send the ship pitching and rolling, giving me a first hand experience at how difficult and challenging life at sea is for seafarers! As I commit myself to contributing to a better understanding of how important and vital the work of seafarers for all of us, when I am doing research on board ships, I really don't mind the occasional headaches and butterflies in my stomach, full speed ahead! 


Nelson attended local schools in the Philippines where he graduated valedictorian both in grade and high school. He finished his undergraduate degree in English Studies (Creative Writing) at the University of the Philippines, Diliman (cum laude) where he also obtained his master's degree in Philippine Studies (Literature and Anthropology). In 2006, he won a SIRC-Nippon fellowship to do a PhD in Social Sciences (Sociology) at Cardiff University, graduating in 2010. His thesis "Bugabug ang Dagat: The Local Life of a Fishing Community in the Philippines" was awarded a Category 1 Pass. He is also an accomplished bi-lingual fictionist having been published in some literary magazines and journals in the Philippines. He grew up in a small fishing community. 















Nelson's research interests are the following: geographies of globalization; fishing communities, marginalized and economically-deprived communities; biography and locality; the maritime industry; power, gender and economic relations. He is also interested in the sociology of culture; the global-local nexus; the production of space and spatialization of everyday life; the interface between anthropology and literature; autoethnography, creative writing; and local histories.


Past projects