top of page
< Back

How to get away with murder? The everyday politics of justification in illiberal times

Nicole Curato, University of Canberra

Tue 16 October 2018

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


This presentation enquires into the everyday politics of justification that legitimize President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs in the Philippines. Since the President took office in 2016, over 22,000 unsolved killings were documented that may be related to the antidrug campaign. Despite these figures, the drug war, as well as President Duterte continue to enjoy broad support from the public based on the latest polling data. What accounts for this phenomenon?

Using in-depth interviews with families left behind by victims of summary executions, community leaders, public officials, and inmates jailed because of drug-related charges, this presentation unpacks the everyday logics of justification that provide discursive power to a controversial policy. It argues that denialism, complicity and deservingness are three logics that structure the ways in which reasons are articulated, negotiated, ignored, and silenced in the public sphere.

The presentation concludes by reflecting on the politics of reason-giving during what is described to be illiberal times in one of Asia’s oldest democracies. It also re-examines the virtues of deliberative democracy in dark times.

This seminar is co-presented by the Australian National University’s Philippines Project.

bottom of page