The study problematized the presence of “public sphere” in an indigenous people’s community using the Habermasian construction of the public sphere as lens. It assumes that constructs of public sphere, is communicatively constituted in their articulations about their engagements with the mining issue. The study surfaced the AlanganMangyan construction of the “public sphere” by examining the mining discourse in the community. The study specifically sought to answer the following questions: 1) Who is part of the public? 2) What are the discourses produced in the Mindoro mining issue? and 3) What are the ideologies and power relationships persisting in the discourses present and the public sphere? Focus group discussion (FGD) served as the preliminary data gathering method to select the six participants for qualitative interview. Using Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis, the public demarcation in the community is determined as an “enclaved public,” with the figures of authority (both tribal and barangay) as the dominant voices and the face of the Alangan Mangyan in the mainstream discourse. Emerging discourses in the mining issue are the discourses of life (survival of nature, culture and future generation) and living (survival in economic terms). The “public sphere” manifests in the formal setting of the public meetings and in the lived experience of the participants – as collective thinking, decision making and shared awareness– and situates itself in the environmental discourse. Within this temporary notion of imperfect existence of “public sphere” by Habermasian standards, a presence of a play of power relationships reside – the tension of the tribal and barangay authority of the community in transition and “nahihiya” as a manifestation of unequal encounters within actors.
Rikki Lee Mendiola, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines
Stream: Media Studies
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