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Indigenous autonomy amid counter-insurgency: cultural citizenship in a Philippine frontier

Gatmaytan, Augusto (2013) Indigenous autonomy amid counter-insurgency: cultural citizenship in a Philippine frontier. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis explores the complexities and processes involved in minority groups' negotiations with the state over the terms of their belonging in the national polity. It is based on fieldwork among the Banwaon, a non-Muslim minority group in the southern Philippines, not previously described in the literature. In the context of on-going insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, the Banwaon are divided: One leader called the katangkawan has become a paramilitary organiser supporting the state‘s counter-insurgency program. Other Banwaon leaders of the Tagdumahan association assert political autonomy from the state. The thesis follows the latter, and their responses to the katangkawan. Almost all Banwaon are implicated in illegal logging. Given timber‘s value as a commodity, Banwaon tenure rules have evolved so that landowners also own the timber standing thereon. However, the katangkawan proposed to have the entire Banwaon ancestral territory titled, invoking a state law recognizing ancestral land ownership. The Tagdumahan responded adversely to this project, because of its implication in counter-insurgency and the katangkawan‟s role in it. The impact of counter-insurgency on the Banwaon is explored. The response of a Banwaon community occupied by the military suggests a pattern of sedentarisation in response to the state‘s growing control of the surrounding forests. A second community suffered from threats from a death-squad allegedly controlled by the katangkawan. Village leaders had difficulty addressing this problem because of the way the katangkawan blurs the line between state and Banwaon society. Electoral politics as a response to threats is also examined. The thesis uses Rosaldo‘s notion of ‗cultural citizenship‘ (2003) in its analysis, to provide a platform for dialogue with Scott‘s characterisation of state-minority relations (2009). Finally, two particular factors are explored: The complexity of the dynamics governing the Tagdumahan‘s attempt to maintain autonomy, and state laws on ancestral land titling.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Augusto Jose B. Gatmaytan
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Supervisor: Cannell, Fenella and Allerton, Catherine

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