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Surviving the Global City: Dispossession and Urban Resistance in the Philippines

Fri, April 1, 5:15 to 7:15pm, Washington State Convention Center, Floor: 3rd Floor, Room 306

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


In its quest to turn Manila into a "global city", the Philippine government has implemented urbanization and neoliberal economic policies that exacerbate existing social inequalities and create new conditions of marginality for vulnerable populations. Building on multidisciplinary social science methodologies such as ethnography and policy analysis, this panel discusses the ways that urban poor populations adapt, survive, and resist the aggressive, market-driven alteration of their urban environment.

In her policy analysis of the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP), Santos traces how the PDP's business and commercial districts lead to projects of "poormaking" that invalidate urban poor residents' land titles and clear the way for forced resettlement. Gonzalez draws from her ethnography in Manila’s Baseco area, the country's largest slum community, to study how global and regional urban-centric models of development have resulted in food insecurity among the community's elderly population. Ordoñez applies a Gramscian framework in analyzing struggles and strategies between coalitions of civilian and military residents and their political allies versus the state-led relocation and gentrification in Bonifacio Global City, a former military reservation converted into one of the Philippines' fastest-growing business districts. Lastly, Arcilla the “barikadang bayan” (community barricade) as a subaltern vision for a democratic future that secures the land and livelihoods of subaltern populations. As its Southeast Asian neighbors increasingly implement their own market-driven strategies towards “global city” status, this panel draws from the Philippine context to theorize alternate narratives and development practices that are more responsive to its vulnerable residents.

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