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The Philippines Under Duterte: A Process of Authoritarian Populism with Liberal-Democratic Roots

February 7, 2018 - 14:15-15:45

In this seminar, Bonn Juego analyses President Duterte’s emergent regime of authoritarian populism.

Rodrigo Duterte has assumed global prominence and notoriety since he led a successful campaign in the 2016 presidential election in the Philippines. After nearly two years in power, he is leading the social formation of a regime of authoritarian populism in the country. With its own agential, institutional, and historical-structural particularities, this unfolding political phenomenon offers a distinctive case for studies of contemporary democratization processes in developing Asia and of emerging varieties of populism across the world.

By examining Duterte’s public speeches, as well as analysing the intent and consequences so far of his policy priorities vis-à-vis the current conjuncture, the seminar will attempt to explain the process through which this regime of authoritarian populism is taking shape. This process is specifically manifested in: [a] Duterte’s leadership style as a heterodox politician with charisma; [b] his shifting support base from cross-class alliances to centre-right; [c] his discursive critique of liberal democracy which has implications for ideological hegemony; [d] his police-centric and militaristic governance approach to societal problems; [e] his Dutertenomics whose logic resembles the ordoliberal thought in the management of capitalist development by a strong state; and [f] his pragmatic yet delicate foreign policy choices that seem to generate friendly relations with other authoritarian regimes and populist state leaders.

The main argument put forward is that this emergent Duterte-led authoritarian populism is symptomatic of the many political tendencies resulting from the evolving socio-economic crises of the so-called EDSA Republic. While it is a self-contradictory phenomenon, the popularity of Duterte’s undemocratic proclivities is rooted in the institutional shortcomings and hypocrisies of the 30-year old liberal-democratic regime in the Philippines.

Bonn Juego is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The event is free and open for all.

More information.

The Philippines Under Duterte: A Process of Authoritarian Populism with Liberal-Democratic Roots


February 7, 2018


Norwegian Network for Asian Studies


Senter for Utvikling og Miljø, 4th floor
Sognsveien 68
Oslo, Norway
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