State and Society in the Philippines

By (author) Patricio N. Abinales, Donna J. Amoroso

Publication date:

06 July 2017

Length of book:

464 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781538103937

This clear and nuanced introduction explores the Philippines’ ongoing and deeply charged dilemma of state-society relations through a historical treatment of state formation and the corresponding conflicts and collaboration between government leaders and social forces. Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso examine the long history of institutional weakness in the Philippines and the varied strategies the state has employed to overcome its structural fragility and strengthen its bond with society. The authors argue that this process reflects the country’s recurring dilemma: on the one hand is the state’s persistent inability to provide essential services, guarantee peace and order, and foster economic development; on the other is the Filipinos’ equally enduring suspicions of a strong state. To many citizens, this powerfully evokes the repression of the 1970s and the 1980s that polarized society and cost thousands of lives in repression and resistance and billions of dollars in corruption, setting the nation back years in economic development and profoundly undermining trust in government. The book’s historical sweep starts with the polities of the pre-colonial era and continues through the first year of Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial presidency.
In this magisterial sweep through five centuries of the country’s turbulent history, Abinales and Amoroso offer an incisive analysis of Philippine politics that deftly juxtaposes local social dynamics with well-chosen global comparisons. Each page offers new insights, each chapter rewards with provocative analysis of a major period, allowing readers—whether undergraduates, faculty, or informed citizens—to emerge with richly informed insights into the country’s elusive, ever-changing political process.