Dr Nelson Turgo

Research Associate
email: TurgoN@cf.ac.uk

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 study for a PhD in Social Sciences (Sociology - Global Political Economy) 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 also holds a postgraduate diploma in Social Science Research Methods (with distinction) from the same university. He is also an accomplished bi-lingual fictionist having been published in a number of literary magazines and journals in the Philippines. He grew up in a small fishing community.


Nelson's research interests are: 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.


In June 2017, Nelson began working on an ESRC-funded three-year project on port chaplaincy in the US and the UK. This multidisciplinary international case study aims to consider the religious/spiritual needs and expression of multinational? workers employed in confined residential settings on board ships. In doing so it seeks to understand past and present forms of port-based ministry/chaplaincy for seafarers calling at the UK and US. Relatedly, it explores the theological implications of such provision for chaplains and the wider organisations they are associated with.


He is currently working on two book projects: the first one is based on his MA thesis (the cultural geography of his hometown) and the second one on the everyday life of a fishing community in the Philippines which is based on his PhD thesis. In between, he enjoys travelling, long walks, watching BBC documentaries and a nice cup of tea.

Publications include:

Conference Papers
Industry Related Publications


Cadge, W., Sampson, H., Turgo, N., Gilliat-Ray, S., Smith, G. (forthcoming) 'The Work of Port Chaplains: Views from Seafarers Served', Journal of Contemporary Religion.  

Turgo, N., Sampson, H. (2021) 'What is immediate and obvious feels real': National identify and emotional vulnerabilities in the field, Methodological Innovations, DOI: 10.1177/20597991211035526.

Smith, G., Turgo, N., Cadge, W., Gilliat-Ray, S., Sampson, H. (2021) 'A working theology: an evaluation of the popular beliefs of Roman Catholic Filipino seafarers', Practical Theology, DOI: 10.1080/1756073X.2021.1951945.

Turgo, N. (2021) Manning the waves: Masculinity shift amongst Filipino seafarers in the age
of precarity, Gender Work Organ., 1–17, DOI: 10.1111/gwao.12710.

Sampson, H. et al (2020) ‘Harmony of the Seas?: Work, faith and religious difference among multinational migrant workers on board cargo ships’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2020.1776362. 

Turgo, N. (2020) 'Temporalities at sea: Fast time and slow time onboard ocean-going merchant vessels, Ethnography, DOI: 10.1177/1466138120923371

Sampson, H., Turgo, N., Acejo, I., Ellis, N., Tang, L. (2019) 'Between a rock and a hard place': the implications of lost autonomy and trust for professionals at sea, Work, Employment and Society, 33(4): 648-665, DOI: 10.1177/0950017018821284.

Sampson, H. and Turgo, N. (2018) 'Finding the way in to a global industry! The usefulness of elite events to social science researchers' Journal of Organizational Ethnography, DOI 10.1108/JOE-04-2017-0022.  

Turgo, N. (2017) 'Why selfie matters in the maritime industry?' AMET Maritime Journal, pp4-11

Turgo, N. (2016) ‘The kinship of everyday need: relatedness and survival in a Philippine fishing community’, South East Asia Research, 24(1): 61-75. DOI: 10.5367/sear.2016.0291.

Turgo, N. (2016) 'Laway lang ang kapital' (Saliva as capital): Social embeddedness of market practices in brokerage houses in the Philippines, Journal of Rural Studies, 43: 83-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2015.11.001.

Turgo, N. (2016) ‘Getting back into place: remembrances and re-membering of Maubanin Living in the US’, Sapagkat ang Paglisan ay Lagi-lagi ring Pagbalik: Ang Pagpopook at Paglikha ng Gunita ng mga Maubanin sa AmerikaMalay, 29(1): 1-17

Turgo, N. (forthcoming) "'Amoy isda': the modern life of market fishmongers", in: Fishing for a living, Maria Mangahas, ed. Quezon City: UP Press.

Turgo, N. (2015) ‘Fishermen, Fishmongers, and the Sea: Economic restructuring and gender dynamics in a Philippine community’, Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints, 63(3), pp 365-391.

Turgo, N. (2014) 'Identity: a contentious notion', Sabangan, pp 31-33.

Turgo, N. (2013) '‘Here, we don't just trade goods, we also “sell” people's lives’: Sari-sari stores as nodes of partial surveillance in a Philippine fishing community', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 34(3): 373-389. DOI: 10.1111/sjtg.12033.

Turgo, N. (2012) '"Bugabug ang dagat (Rough seas)": Experiencing Foucault's heterotopia in fish trading houses', Social Science Diliman, 8(1): 31-62. 

Turgo, N. (2012) ‘I know him so well’: Contracting/tual ‘insiderness’ and Maintaining Access and Rapport in a Philippine Fishing Community, Sociological Research Online, 17 (3).

Turgo, N. (2012) 'A ‘balikbayan’ in the field: scaling and (re) producing insider’s identity in a Philippine fishing community', Qualitative Research, 12(6): 666-685. DOI: 10.1177/1468794111433006.

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Sampson, H., Turgo, N., Cadge, W., Gilliat-Ray, S., Smith, G. (2021) Religion in multi-ethnic contexts: a multidisciplinary case study of global seafaring - Summary Report, Cardiff: SIRC.  

Acejo, I., Sampson, H., Turgo, N., Ellis, N., Tang, L. (2018), 'The causes of maritime accidents in the period 2002-2016', Cardiff: SIRC, November, ISBN: 1-900174-51-0.

Sampson, H., Ellis, N., Acejo, I., Turgo, N., Tang, L. (2018) 'The working and living conditions of seafarers on cargo ships in the period 2011-2016', Cardiff: SIRC, October, ISBN: 1-900174-20-2.

Sampson, H., Ellis, N., Acejo, A., Turgo, N. (2017) 'Changes in seafarers' health 2011-2016: A summary report', Cardiff: SIRC, July, ISBN: 1-900174-49-9.

Sampson, H., Acejo, I., Ellis, N., Tang, L. and Turgo, N. (2016) 'The use of mandatory equipment on board cargo ships: An outline report based on research undertaken in the period 2012-2016', Cardiff:SIRC, April, ISBN: 1-900174-74-2. 

Sampson, H., Acejo, I., Ellis, N., Tang, L. and Turgo, N. (2016) 'The relationships between seafarers and shore-side personnel: An outline report based on research undertaken in the period 2012-2016', Cardiff:SIRC, April, ISBN: 1-900174-48-0.

Ellis, N., Sampson, H., Acejo, I., Tang, L., Turgo, N. and Zhao, Z. (2012) 'Seafarer Accommodation on Contemporary Cargo Ships', Cardiff:SIRC, December, ISBN: 1-900174-43-X.

Wadsworth, E.J.K., Marsh, K.L., Turgo N. and Walters, D.R. (2011) ‘Supply chain management for health and safety’, [Online], London 2012 website [October 2011]. London: IOSH.

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Industry Related Publications

Sampson, H., Ellis, N., Gould. E., Tang, L., Turgo, N. and Zhao, Z. (2012) ‘Safety and Shipping 1912-2012’, Report commissioned by Allianz which underpins their subsequent publication ‘Safety and Shipping 1912-2012: From Titanic to Costa Concordia, an insurer’s perspective from Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty’ available from Allianz GCS.

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Conference Papers

Turgo, N. (2019) 'Faith and religion amongst multinational crews', SIRC Symposium, Cardiff University, 13 June. 

Turgo, N., Ellis, N., Tang, L., Sampson, H. and Acejo, I. (2013) 'The Use of Mandatory Equipment On-board', SIRC Symposium, Cardiff University, 3-4 July, ISBN 1-900174-46-4.

Turgo, N., Sampson, H., Acejo, I., Ellis, N. and Tang, L. (2013) 'Understanding the Relationships Between Ship and Shore Personnel', SIRC Symposium, Cardiff University, 3-4 July, ISBN 1-900174-46-4.

Tang, L., Acejo, I., Ellis, N., Turgo, N. and Sampson, H. (2013) 'Behind the Headlines? An Analysis of Accident Investigation Reports', SIRC Symposium, Cardiff University, 3-4 July, ISBN 1-900174-46-4.

Acejo, I., Sampson, H., Turgo, N. and Wadsworth, E. (2011) ‘The Health and Self-medication Practices of Seafarers’, SIRC Symposium, Cardiff University, 6-7 July, ISBN 1-900174-39-1.

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