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Guest Lecture: Hierarchies of Misery in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines

Monday, August 27, 2018 - 17:00

Join us at NIAS on 27 August at 5pm for a public guest lecture by Dr Nicole Curato, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra

Whose suffering counts in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines? In this presentation, I enquire into the unequal distribution of compassion among ‘communities of misery’ in a nation that has been beset with a series of tragedies. I compare two case studies: disaster survivors from Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and the families left behind by police and vigilante killings of Duterte’s controversial war on drugs.

While the nation has witnessed overwhelming gestures of solidarity in the aftermath of a mega-disaster, the drug war has not resulted to telethons to support the war’s orphans, Twitter hashtags to mourn the dead or mass graves that give visibility to victimhood. Why is suffering from the drug war treated any differently?

Drawing on four years of ethnographic research in Tacloban and Manila, I offer three logics that underpin this moral judgment: the logic of denialism, complicity, and deservingness. I argue that these judgments are embedded in a moral economy that renders some lives disposable and therefore ‘ungrieveable.’  By pursuing this line of enquiry, this presentation seeks to provide a sociological portrait of the society that emerges in the age of Dutertismo and critically examine its implications for democratic practice.

Nicole Curato is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. She is the author of the forthcoming book Democracy in a Time of Misery: From Spectacular Tragedy to Deliberative Action (Oxford University Press) and the editor of the book Duterte Reader: Critical Essays on Rodrigo Duterte’s Early Presidency (Cornell University Press).

In 2015, she was the recipient of recipient of the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Research Fellowship for her work on democratic innovations in post-disaster contexts. She is a regular contributor in news outlets including CNN, Al Jazeera, ABC News Australia, and the New York Times, among others.


The guest lecture is organized in collaboration with Professor Steffen Jensen, Aalborg University, Copenhagen.

CFP 11th Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference & PhD Course Asia on the Move

Monday, November 5, 2018 to Friday, November 9, 2018

The conference and PhD course are organized by Centre for Peace Studies at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway & NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Asia – a region that contains nuclear states, the second and third largest economies in the world, the largest global population – is on the move!

The continent which has changed the most in the 21st century is Asia: be it Asia’s engagement with the Arctic region, presence in Africa, economic prominence, or geopolitical influence within and outside of the region, increased population movements in and outside Asia, increased risk of climate change, democratization and citizenship issues, nuclear proliferation and security threats to and from some of the Asian countries – all require in-depth analysis for good global governance.

For example, the rise of China in Central Asia has led to many speculations, including a ‘New Great Game’ with Russia and the United States. On the other hand, new moves from both parties on the Korean peninsula may see a ‘new hope’ for peace.  Sideways, in the context of climate change and ‘arctic race’, new geo-ecopolitical, and geostrategic dynamics led to the growing interest of non-Arctic states in the affairs of the Arctic. Engagement of countries like China, Japan, Korea and India in the Arctic will significantly influence the evolving dynamics in that region.
Meanwhile, forced migration (e.g. Rohingya issues) and climate change induced displacement, corruption, violation of human rights and citizenship, crisis in Asian mega cities, and rising inequality have huge influence on ‘The Move’ and hence require much attention from policymakers and academics working on Asia.  

In this context, the annual NNC conference 2018 will take place in the High North venue of Tromsø, at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Arne Strand, Lecturer, Director, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway
  • Cholpon Chotaeva, Professor, American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
  • Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, Professor, Centre for Peace Studies, Tromsø, Norway
  • Mohammad Salehin, Associate Professor, Centre for Peace Studies, Tromsø, Norway

Deadline for submitting abstract (maximum 300 words) 27 August 2018:

For more information, please go to the conference website: