Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Kasarinlan (Social Movements, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2006)


Notes from the editor


Dominique Caouette, "Thinking and Nurturing Transnational Activism: Global Citizen Advocacy in Southeast Asia"
ABSTRACT. In recent years, international nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and transnational networks involved in knowledge creation have become key civil-society actors in Southeast Asia. How and why has such form of transnational activism expanded significantly in the region? The author suggests that this type of activism is a response to socioeconomic and political processes associated with globalization, as well as a consequence of the relative and limited political liberalization that has characterized some Southeast Asian countries. The specific combination of these two factors is peculiar to the region since contemporary transnational activism in Western Europe and North America takes place within open democracies with well-established civil-society organizations. Moreover, trade liberalization and other global economic processes have not marked domestic dynamics as rapidly and suddenly as the economic boom of the 1980s and, eventually, the 1997 financial crisis did in certain Southeast Asian countries. To explore this argument, the paper traces the genealogy and analyzes the objectives and activities of four transnational activist organizations. Common to the four organizations is the central place of discourse and knowledge production and its linkages to mobilization, network building and constituency building, and a growing awareness that they are confronted with common challenges and share common targets.

Andrew Yeo, "Local-National Dynamics and Framing in South Korean Anti-Base Movements"
ABSTRACT. This article discusses the dynamics of anti-base coalition movements in South Korea, with particular attention to the role of framing. With two anti-base movement campaigns as case studies—the movement against base expansion at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, and the anti-base movement that led to the eventual closure of Kooni Firing Range in Maehyangri—the author argues that effective mobilization in anti-base movements requires striking a balance between the movements' focus on local and national issues regarding US military bases. Moreover, although political opportunity structures and mobilization resources are often given more weight within the political process model of social movements, local-national tension that exists within South Korean anti-base movements highlights the importance of framing contention in anti-base movements.

Josephine C. Dionisio, "Analyzing NGO Discourses: Probing the Institutional History of the Philippine Peasant Institute"

ABSTRACT. In this article, NGOs are seen as discursive fields where different discourses emerge and converge, and competing discourses fight for dominance. NGOs may be caught up in the web of power of discourses on development and democracy, and are therefore constituted by it. However, their praxis can also be a site where the resistance to the constituting processes of these discourses can be found. Understanding NGO discourses become particularly relevant especially in light of persistent questions regarding the role of NGOs in social transformation. By revealing transgressive moments in NGO praxis as illustrated in the institutional history of the Philippine Peasant Institute (PPI), the debate on the role of NGOs in social transformation is reframed away from the dichotomy between progressive versus counterprogressive work into how NGOs could retain its transgressive character and maintain its relevance in the continuing struggle toward social transformation.

Anne Harris, "The Theology of Struggle: Recognizing Its Place in Recent Philippine History"

ABSTRACT. The "theology of struggle" is the name embraced in 1982 by a significant group of socially concerned Christians in the Philippines who, after experiencing conversion as a result of living and working among the poor, committed themselves to a new way of "being church." For almost three decades, this new way of life saw church people construct new identities, act collectively, and challenge established religious, social, and cultural understandings. Those who joined the struggle felt that they were called to a radical form of commitment. This commitment brought them under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, a group with an ideology perceived as antithetical to their beliefs. The "theology of struggle" is, however, a misnomer: it is not theological discourse in the traditional sense. Rather, it should be understood as a social movement. Multifaceted and complex, social movements strive for change, though often in dangerous circumstances. To comprehend how Christians in the Philippines came to join a Communist-led struggle, and their subsequent evolution into a movement of significance, one dimension of social movement theory is employed—the construction of identity.

* ASEAN Public Lecture Series 2006: Islam, Islamization, and Democratization by Norani Othman

Do social movements offer viable alternatives?

REVIEWS: * Asian Cooperation: Problems and Challenges in the New Century * Down from the Hill: Ateneo de Manila in the First Ten Years of Martial Law, 1972-1982 * Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora * The New Transnational Activism * Planet of Slums * Revolution, Reform and Regionalism in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam * Trailblazing: The Quest for Energy Self-Reliance * Virtual Thailand: The Media and Cultural Politics in Thailand, Malayisa and Singapore

Click this link to see the issue on-line.

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