“To whom does democracy belong?” Dr Jowel Canuday to speak at PSS National Conference

“To whom does democracy belong?” Dr Jowel Canuday to speak at PSS National Conference

Dr Jose Jowel Canuday from Ateneo de Manila University’s Sociology and Anthropology Department will deliver a plenary session entitled “When Inclusion Unsettles and Democracy Disorders: The Intelligibility of Non-Representation in the Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples Contrasting Struggles for Self Determination” at the PSS National Conference at the Ateneo de Davao University.

Dr Canuday is the author of Bakwit: The Power of the Displaced. He completed his PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2013.  Before his PhD, he was a journalist based in Davao City writing for Mindanews.

Read the abstract of his presentation below.

When Inclusion Unsettles and Democracy Disorders: The Intelligibility of Non-Representation in the Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples Contrasting Struggles for Self Determination 

What constitutes inclusion and to whom does democracy belong?

The question of inclusion and democracy implicates the contrasting and at times competing self-determination struggles waged forth by the Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples in intricate ways. Long-standing efforts of integrating both peoples into the national body politic were not only elusive as evinced by the failure of successive proposals for ethno-political autonomy.  Rather, they underscore the growing frustrations of minority communities to democratic processes that privileged the strength of numbers by a centralising state authority over the recognition of minority rights to self determination.

Shaped by these experiences, Bangsamoro and indigenous political formations demanded less of representation and inclusion to national deliberative bodies, but revealingly, in sharply differing terms. The Bangsamoro community pushed for a delineation of an ancestral territory and possession of exclusive powers by which their constituencies, regardless of religion, creed, or indigeneity would be recognised to determine their status and exercise their right to autonomously define their own governing authority.  On that score, indigenous peoples formations called for their exclusion to a Bangsamoro entity, rejecting Bangsamoro assurances of fair representation. Instead, indigenous groups asserted their separation as a people with inherent rights of charting their future, not necessarily within the democratic ideals of majority ruling but through a more organic system of appropriating power. These sentiments, nonetheless, reflect the tensions of integration and fragmentation, centralisation and decentralisation, formations and reformations of the many spaces of the Global South.

Is fragmentation a path to inclusive voices and democratic future of the minoritised peoples of the Philippines as it is in the broader domain of the Global South? Will projects of integration hold? The Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples ancestral domain – both spaces of the Global South –  where contestation and the exuberant energy of public engagement continue to unsettle the formation of centralised, unitary forms of state power and forced us to rethink the configurations of inclusion and democracy.

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