Political Ecology and Care: Indigeneity and Development in the Coron Protected Area, Palawan, Philippines

Authors: Arthur Benjamin Adapon*, Dartmouth College
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Gender
Keywords: Philippines, Tagbanua, political ecology, care ethics, geopolitics, marine conservation, Global South
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Governor's Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Tagbanua peoples in Coron, Palawan occupy a unique position relative to other indigenous peoples inscribed within protected areas and “ancestral lands” in the Philippines – recognized by the national government as managers of the protected area as opposed to being dispossessed or disadvantaged by such circumscription of space. Recognizing the histories of conservation practice in the post-colony as rooted in colonial thought leading to the dispossession of those found within conservation spaces, this paper considers the theoretical contributions of an example that led to “empowerment” instead of marginalization. This project hence takes this case study and investigates the discourses of indigeneity, development, and care that surround the people and setting of the Coron Protected Area. Specifically, this project uses the frameworks of political ecology and feminist care ethics through semi-structured interviews and participant observation to identify how relations between different actors within and outside the protected area understand and construct the space and those within and outside it, taking seriously the discourses of care that are mobilized by such actors on conservation, indigeneity, and development. Care ethics provides a useful framework for understanding discourse and practice in sustainable development in Coron, by actors operating at all levels, Tagbanua and otherwise. Theoretically, this paper takes interest in the insights that bridging political ecology and feminist care ethics could provide for both areas of scholarship, while demonstrating a case study emplaced and emergent in the Global South by a Global South scholar.

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