Duterte and the Diaspora: Filipino-Canadian Media Representations and Political-Economic Imaginaries of the Homeland

Authors: Philip Kelly*, York University
Topics: Migration, Ethnic Geography, Development
Keywords: Philippines, Diaspora, Migration, Media, Politics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 2, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While diasporic communities imagine the past and present of their homeland, they also envision a political and economic future. This envisioning has been increasingly facilitated by close observation of the homeland through web-based media, and manifested in dual citizenship, overseas voting and various forms of activism. The election of Rodrigo Duterte as President of the Philippines in 2016 involved widespread support from the Filipino diaspora around the world, including immigrants in North America. Using a database of over 400 stories compiled from seven Filipino-Canadian community newspapers over two years (2016-2018), along with key informant interviews, this paper traces the narratives through which Duterte reached out to diasporic voters before and after his election, the ways in which he was represented in print media in particular, and the changes in representation that occurred after he assumed office, especially as the brutality of extra-judicial killings in the ‘war on drugs’ became fully apparent. Aside from the specific question of Duterte as a political phenomenon, the paper also speaks to the ways in which both mainstream and alternative political/economic/developmental imaginaries are constructed and performed in the diaspora.

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