Democracy in a Time of Misery: From Spectacular Tragedies to Deliberative Action

Democracy in a Time of Misery: From Spectacular Tragedies to Deliberative Action

Nicole Curato

2019

,

Oxford University Press

Winner of the Virginia Miralao Best Book Prize from the Philippine Social Science Council

Summary

Democracy in a Time of Misery: From Spectacular Tragedy to Deliberative Action investigates how democratic politics can unfold in creative and unexpected of ways even at the most trying of times. Drawing on three years of fieldwork in disaster-affected communities in Tacloban City, Philippines, this book presents ethnographic portraits of how typhoon survivors actively perform their suffering to secure political gains.

These ethnographic descriptions come together in a theoretical project that makes a case for a multimodal view of deliberative action. It underscores the embodied, visual, performative and subtle ways in which affective political claims are constructed and received. It concludes by arguing that while emotions play a role in amplifying marginalized political claims, it also creates hierarchies of misery that renders some forms of suffering more deserving of compassion than others.