Special Seminar by Chester Arcilla on Nov. 17
2016/11/17 @ 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Date and Time: November 17th (Thurs.), 2016, 16:00 – 18:00
Place: Tonan-tei (Room No. 201) on the 2nd floor of Inamori foundation
memorial building, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
Title: Towards a better understanding of urban subaltern politics
Speaker: Chester Arcilla, Ronpaku Scholar and PhD Candidate, Hiroshima University
Moderator: Caroline Hau, CSEAS, Kyoto University
My work aims to celebrate and understand the embodied nature of subaltern political agency within neoliberal urban government. Using the case of a large slum community in Metro Manila resisting ongoing demolitions for a global Central Business District, I engage in a politics of recognition rendering visible the collective and individual histories of struggles of slumdwellers against the production of city spaces and consumer-citizens for state-elite accumulation by dispossession.
In this discussion, I reflect how sociality-building remains an imperative political project amidst subaltern heterogeneity entangled in the rationalities and evolving technologies of neoliberal urban government. The liminality of slums (in the production of subaltern subjectivities, politics and economics) may provide the foundations for building a subaltern sociality. Spivak’s reminder of heterogeneity, performativity of, and contradictions in subaltern politics, however, call for constant reflection on diverse political and economic innovations against: first, the tendencies of postcolonial centerings – an emergent history dominated by the postcolonial; and second, the slippage into a “vocabulary of alternatives” – a failure to recognize a dominant neoliberal global form. Drawing from preliminary ethnographic data of more than two years on slum dwellers’ struggles, I suggest that subaltern political potentialities remain contingent in exceeding neoliberalism via deliberate, provisional, and iterative construction of historically-dominant exclusions as the constitutive outside – upon which sociality-building is struggled for, where subaltern difference is recognized, and political unities strengthened using strategies based on a shared experience of illegality, incivility and protest.
Chester Arcilla is a graduate student of Hiroshima University and an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines. His interests revolve around urban subalternity and militant research methodologies.