Monday, September 1, 2014

Monocultural Manic Monday Mechanicality V

generic post: ngayong araw, muling napatunayang tulad ng napatunayan at mapapatunayan sa mga susunod pang mga araw  na nais, fetish, kaligayahan ng mga utak-makina at ahente ng makinang umiiral ang panghahawa (kahit contagious na nga ito kahit hindi tahasang manghawa) sa lahat ng tao ng pagiging makina nila. sa ganang akin, at sa relasyon sa ganitong kairalang nagaganap sa loob ng mapagpanggap na bastion of democracy, ang akademya, gagawin ko na ring mekanikal ang paglabas ng mga piyesang nabuo sa ngayo'y tuluyan nang naging mekanikal na ring espasyo. makina ang manggagawa. dapat sumunod sa batas. may takdang oras. takdang anumang shit. dapat ipatupad ng manager ang mga batas. pero hindi nangangahulugang dapat din silang sumunod dito. sa kasamaang palad, napapaligiran ka ng mga ganitong magugulang na nilalang. pakikibaka na ata ang pagpapanatili ng bait, pero hindi sapat ang ganitong tipo ng pakikibakang maintenance shit lang ng sanity. anyway, scheduled ang mga post ng blog entries. kung nakapagpost ako rito, hindi nangangahulugang nag-online ako, dahil naka-iskedyul nga ang mga post (kaya walang tampo mode pag hindi ako nakatugon sa email pero nakapag-blog ako, ganyan, anyway, eto na da list!):

[X] "Agrobiodiversity and Monoculture Homogenization in Agri/Culture" (UP Forum, 2011). [X] "The Fight for Education as Dress Rehearsal" (UP Forum, 2011). [--] "Community Sterilization and the Cataclysm" (UP Forum, 2012). [X] "Pamana at Pagkalinga ng mga Inang Makabayan" (UP Forum, 2012). [X] "Beyond the Bark: Reexamining our Roots" (UP Forum, 2012).  [--] "Enabling Law Disabling 'Small Dictatorships'" (UP Forum, 2013). [--] "Power Switch: Reconsidering Renewable Energy" (UP Forum, 2013). "Indigenous Research: Settle to Unsettle, Learn to Unlearn" (UP Forum, 2014). "Fortun, Forensics and the Yolanda Aftermath: Recovery, Storage, System Restore, Repeat" (UP Forum, 2014). "General Education at Globalisasyon: Isip, Salita at Gawa Para Kanino?" (UP Forum, 2014)

magbabago ang listahan sa bawat post. simulan na natin.

Indigenous Research: Settle to Unsettle, Learn to Unlearn

The method of learning, unlearning, relearning[1] for literacy and pedagogy may also be employed as the mantra for research and knowledge production. Scholars of indigenous studies and other related disciplines shall unlearn and relearn, if they intend to dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools, to build a house anew; or, even if they simply want to mitigate their marginal status by merely renovating the master’s house, where they informally reside.
            To this day, there remains a complicated and contemporary variant of a master-slave relationship that oils the academic machinery. More often than not, modern knowledge products from cognition factories were manufactured by extracting raw materials—whether tangible, such as mineral resources, or intangible, such as knowledge— from indigenous repositories, with neither regard nor respect from the dwelling indigenous communities. All these plundering performed in the name of reason, science and civilization. Then, trans- and multi-national processors refine in/tangible resources for the grand design of the hegemons and their cohorts. Despite its potential to be a neutralizing tool of powers-that-be, indigenous studies shall serve as a venue for resistance, where the ones branded irrational, pagan, savage, claim what is theirs, and engage with ethnocentric researchers that impose labels and universalize truths.

Upset, Unsettle: Ingestion and Indigestion

It is inevitable to mention terms such as benevolent assimilation, white man’s burden, manifest destiny and other justifications for colonization, in tracing the roots of indigenous studies.[2] The assumed superiority of scientific thinking starts all the way back, when westerners decided to “civilize” the natives and “liberate” them from superstitions.
            Ethnocentricism, Euro- and Ameri- centrism in particular, has been circulating the bloodstreams of the universities since the establishment of the colonial education system, hence our mentality has been imbibing the ideological biases of our masters. For instance, the Spaniards demonized our ancestors as pagans, while the Americans ostracized them as illiterates—and some of us bought the demonization and ostracism the colonizers sold. Institutions established by colonial masters—the church and the public school system—worked against our people.
            Participants of the workshop organized by UP Baguio and Tebtebba, “Reflections on Indigenous Studies and Research: Taking stock of lessons from the field,”[3] convened to collectively resist the objectification of indigenous people studied for the perusal of science, thus the inquiry whether the indigenous-scientific dichotomy is “true” and mutually exclusive, among other questions[4] that oblige leaders and intellectuals to be excited and unsettled.[5]
            Instinct or common sense,[6] tells us something is either black or white, that anything is either one or the other. But beyond different tints of gray areas or middle grounds exist other hues of possibilities, especially since the current epoch somehow provides venues for discourses that were once subdued.
            The three-day workshop synthesized[7] the inquiries raised which include

the nature of ‘indigenous studies’ as a discipline; indigenous way(s) of knowing, worldview(s) and the appropriate research methodologies; the roles of intellectuals in advancing indigenous studies; and the way forward for indigenous studies.” Inadvertently, the participants seem to settle with the definition of indigenous studies as “field of inquiry which focuses on issues affecting people/s (and their descendants) who on account of colonization (and its consequences) have become historically differentiated and disadvantaged people/s, have suffered/are suffering injustice/s, have been prevented from determining their lives and future, and how their societies will develop.

            However, opinions regarding the idea of determining an indigenous person vary. Among the different factors considered in defining indigenous identity are biological inheritance, historical differentiation, and indigenous worldview,[8] qualified by

(a) a non-anthropocentric orientation where man is merely a small part of the order of things; (b) the primacy of collective goals over individual goals; (c) the ‘earth-rootedness’ of human beings given their reliance on nature for their livelihood, subsistence, and survival; (d) an orientation towards environmental protection and responsibility instead of environmental exploitation; and, (e) an innate preference for harmony or balance among all living things.

            Though the indigenous worldview share “common” features, it does not follow that indigenous groups share one culture—as culture is place- and time-specific, and cultural practices “are often products of years of experience, of adaptation, adjustment, and modification.” Thus, the movement for indigenous rights is never static. The struggle, according the synthesis paper, evolved “from arguing for communitarian or collectivist ideals versus individualistic goals in the 1970s and 1980s, to asserting indigenous peoples’ rights within a liberal framework and clamoring for better arrangements indigenous peoples within the modern nation-state thereafter.”[9] Moreover, the Philippines’ “shift in usage from cultural minorities to indigenous peoples reflects the evolution of the indigenous rights discourse. (emphasis added)”
            The research methodology for indigenous studies shall blur “the dichotomy between the researcher and the object of research,” i.e the indigenous community shall be “an associate of the researcher and an active participant in the research process.” Thus, “the conduct of research, apart from being community-based, is also community-sanctioned and community-sensitive.”
            First among the three themes that emerged during the workshop involved the notion of binary categories.[10] Regarding another dichotomy, that of the academic and the activist, “the consensus among the participants was to foster engagement and forge alliances instead of creating and fueling tensions;” while, in dealing with institutions, the indigenous are encouraged to engage.[11] Thus, in general, the workshop suggests the rejection of instituted binary black-and-white positions and the exploration of a probable half-way rendezvous points, i.e. compromises or gray areas. The second theme considers the participants’ inclination of advocating indigenous studies as if it were a “fight,” while the third theme calls for transcending theory by putting ideas into practice.[12]

Reset and Resettle: Interrogation

Since the academe hosts dialectical debates, it is also expected to encourage formations of forces that combine and ones that contend,[13] in the neutral, value-free pursuit of knowledge and for the sake of research. However, Smith writes, “research has a significance for indigenous peoples that is embedded in our history under the ‘gaze’ of Western imperialism and Western science” and it has “not been neutral in its objectification of the Other.”[14] Knowledge produced through the colonization of the indigenous people benefits the West and, “in turn, colonize[s] us in what Ngugi wa Thiong’o calls colonization ‘of the mind.’” Thus, Cunningham calls for decolonization of research. She said, “[Scholars] should not produce knowledge and keep it in a library,” as there should be a way for the knowledge to return and to be of purpose to the community.[15]
            The call for internationalization and globalization—as if it were to connect all humanity into one community committed to advancement of mankind, with facilitating institutions—is another matter, which is quite contrary to decolonization and, eventually, sovereignty and liberation. The key term is human, whose meaning is determined by the ruling power. Qualified humans get to enjoy the fruits of research, science, art and culture. “Humanizing” the savage has been the hobby and advocacy of the so-called liberators, and they ended up with the other end—dehumanization. Sole commitment to knowledge (even cultural) production, as if it were neutral, tends to bring forth scholars “who in the name of science and progress still consider indigenous peoples as specimens, not as humans.”[16]
            Consequently, indigenous theorists, such as Reinaga, resorted to ambidextrous reflexes, to ward off strange, foreign thoughts. He said: “Capitalism is the right hand and Communism the left. With both hands the white man strangles the indigenous nation, slaving us and nature to machines.”[17] Reminiscent of the impact of the Zeus Salazar’s indigenization project, Pantayong Pananaw (for-us-from-us[18] perspective), Reinaga’s indianismo was seen as problematic, even myopic; yet, like Salazar’s brainchild, it can never be plainly dismissed because of its impact on thought production. Lucero[19] explores how Fanon’s anti-colonialism somehow shaped Reinaga’s indianismo, and just like Salazar’s ideas, these thoughts would later be critiqued, in an effort to engage in discourse and to advance in theorizing. Bolivian president Evo Morales, Latin America’s first indigenous president, acknowledges Reinaga’s influence, while maintaining a staunch anti-imperialist stance,[20] which is, needless to say, anti-capitalist.[21]
            Consistent with its predatory nature (but deodorized through terms such as post-colonialism, economic independence, tribal development, progress, etc.),[22] imperialism, currently euphemized as globalization, threatens indigenous cultures and identities. Makere writes, “Beyond the homogenizing influence on material forms of culture is a more fundamental and profoundly significant issue, that of the homogenization of world views and constructions of reality and the loss and commodification of indigenous knowledge.”[23]
            More than a fight, it seems indigenous studies exist in a war-torn field, thus the necessity of indentifying allies and enemies, even in the academia. Criticality shall therefore remain upon analysis of claims fashioned by perceived allies. A healthy skepticism shall be observed, as superficial democratic spaces and apparent consensus shall be scrutinized and queried. The aforementioned shift attributed to Kymlicka, for instance, seems to normalize or naturalize the status quo. By implying that working within the institution is the destined trend of indigenous movements, Kymlicka seems to legitimize the power of the modern nation state and to suggest the oppressed—indigenous or otherwise—are left with no choice but to negotiate within its instituted (neo)liberal framework.
            According to Konig,[24] Kymlicka’s “morally and politically opportunist” leaning towards “liberal culturalism, a doctrinal variety able to unify nationalism and multiculturalism,” enforces hegemony. Look back at our country’s policies, such as the Mining Act of 1995, which was later reversed[25] in favor of the transnational (read: foreign) mining corporations, giving them the freedom  to mine minerals and to plunder other resources, at the expense of the indigenous peoples. With these goings-on, the shift away from the indigenous peoples’ basic “communitarian” rights, such as that of self-determination and of ancestral domain, is illusory as the struggle for collective rights remains relevant. The partiality of liberal political norms towards the property-owners who wanted to overindulge in more property has been violating already dispossessed people—indigenous or otherwise.
            Since the colonial[26] until the current neocolonial times, people of our third world country, especially the indigenous, are being ransacked, with the help of the military. In the recent experience of the Tumandoks,[27] catastrophic land-grabbing never takes a break, even after the devastation of one of the most powerful, literal typhoons–both of which displaces the people, the former however aggravates the latter. Moreover, the military is also instrumental in impeding the education of indigenous children,[28] somehow rendering the Department of Education’s bandaid solution of allocating fund for basic indigenous education.[29]As if annual national education budget cuts weren’t enough, a look at the indigenous peoples’ situationer prepared by the UN itself,[30] and the accompanying education crises among many other problems, and reality stares us right in the eye.
Bolivia’s attempt to transform education, [31]  with the help of social movements, intellectuals and think tanks,[32] shows that despite the relatively progressive government, radicalizing education takes time, and the process is never a walk in the park. The possibilities of indigenous pedagogy and experiments in advocating intercultural education[33] remain a relevant area of concern in indigenous studies.
            In essence, one shall proceed into education with caution, as it functions as a double-edged dagger. Scholars shall remain critical with every acquired knowledge and never settle for anything absolute, because education is the most seductive[34] aspect of western imperialism. The “power to narrate or to block other narratives from forming or emerging, is very important to culture and imperialism, and constitutes one of the main connections between them,”[35] and among the points where the formal/academic and the informal/folk meet is the intersection of indigenous studies.
            Education, especially instituted ones, is a technology of domination, yet, despite being “the primary tool for the submerging of indigenous peoples’ highly developed ‘inner’ ways of knowing under a layer of colonizing ideologies,” it may also be a site for resistance.[36] To resist the oppressive educational institutions, “indigenous peoples who are impelled to coexist within neoliberal state formations” must face the call “to re-embed (…) principles[37] at the core of indigenous educational movements, organizational structures and economic aspirations,” as doing “otherwise is to become active participants in the processes of imperialism.”[38]

[1] Many articles (e.g. have been attributing the popular quote to philosopher and futurist Alvin Toffler, but some sources refute the attribution (e.g. “Learning, unlearning, relearning” also recurs as a catch phrase in works written by professors and intellectuals advocating critical pedagogy (
[2] “Arguably, the way indigenous peoples have been used as objects of research has been appropriated by colonizers and ruling elites to justify colonization and domination, contributing to the perpetuation of racism and discrimination against indigenous peoples,” according to “Concept Paper for an International Seminar-Workshop on Indigenous Studies,” received via email from the organizers, the Cordillera Studies Center, University of the Philippines Baguio and Tebtebba Foundation, Inc.
[3] See news article about the workshop, “UP Baguio, Tebtebba host Indigenous Studies Workshop.” UP News. Quezon City: UP System Information Office. Volume 34, Number 7-8. July-August 2013. pp.9 & 23.
[4] In their concept paper, organizers posed the questions: “Is the dichotomy between Western Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge a true dichotomy? Can one think ‘scientifically’ and yet be open to an indigenous worldview? Does the adoption of Western epistemologies, ontologies, and methodologies really entail the wholesale rejection of their indigenous counterparts and vice-versa? Or, is the indigenous way of knowing also a valid way of knowing in addition to the western way?
                While cognizant of the limitations of Western Knowledge, many mainstream academics and researchers wonder whether the adoption of an indigenous worldview is still possible for one trained in Western-based knowledge systems, especially for one not generally considered an ‘indigenous person.’ Can a non-indigenous person do indigenous studies? What happens when the indigenous becomes the center of study by academics, advocates and activists? How can indigenous peoples and academics work together to enhance the dialogue, cross-fertilization and connections between indigenous, traditional knowledge systems and scientific knowledge?
                What are the emerging indigenous (non-Western) epistemologies? Are they changing and challenging the ways of knowing the world?  These fundamental questions had challenged and inspired the organizers to gather prominent scholars, advocates and activists to a seminar-workshop on indigenous studies. What lessons have indigenous researchers learned in pursuing their research activities with their own communities?”
[5] From the welcome remarks “Promoting Indigenous Studies in Higher Education” delivered by Dr. J. Prospero De Vera III during the International Workshop on Indigenous Studies at the Legends Villas, Mandaluyong.
[6] Common sense pertains to “the uncritical and largely unconscious way of perceiving and understanding the world that has become ‘common’ in any given epoch,” as mentioned in p.625 SELECTIONS FROM THE PRISON NOTEBOOKS OF ANTONIO GRAMSCI. Quentin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, eds and trans. ElecBook: London. 1999. Transcribed from the edition published by Lawrence & Wishart: London 1971. Guido Liguori’s “Common sense in Gramsci” discussed various uses of the term “common sense” in the Gramscian corpus and concluded that though meanings vacillate, “common sense is something to supersede rather than conserve” (p.133). From Perspectives on Gramsci: Politics, culture and social theory. Joseph Francese, ed. Routledge: New York. 2009.
[7] Dr. Alejandro Ciencia of the Cordillera Studies Center generously sent a copy of the summary of the workshop’s synthesis paper, which was used as a primary source for this article, along with the cited UP news article.
[8] Quoting at length from the synthesis paper: “One can identify at least three tendencies when it comes to defining ‘indigenous peoples.’ There was the tendency to speak of indigenous identity as a product of biological inheritance, i.e., that it is inherited from one's parents.  Hence, a person whose parents are indigenous persons is consequently also an indigenous person.   Another tendency among some participants was to regard indigenous identity as the product of historical differentiation, mainly as a consequence of colonization. A third (and possible alternative to the two mentioned above) is to understand indigenous identity as involving an indigenous mindset or worldview/cosmovision, marked by a deep sense of connectedness to the environment, to the community, and to all living things, both visible and invisible.”
[9] The synthesis paper cites Will Kymlicka’s remark in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press: New York, USA. 2002.
[10] Quoting at length from the synthesis paper: “Scholars and advocates of indigenous studies often find  themselves dealing with binary concepts - e.g., western positivist knowledge versus non-western indigenous knowledge; state versus indigenous peoples; top-down approaches versus bottom-up approaches; academia/university-based scholarship versus activist/advocacy work; neutrality (research for its own sake) versus positionality (change-oriented research).”
[11]Quoting at length from the synthesis paper: “As to the relationship between indigenous peoples and the state (and other state-based organizations or institutions like the United Nations), there was general agreement that engagement was the way forward for indigenous peoples.”
[12] Quoting at length from the synthesis paper: “The second major theme – and this is alluded to above - involves the tendency of the participants to see the advancement of indigenous studies as something similar to a struggle or a fight. (…) The third key theme emerging from the discussions was the commitment to go beyond theorizing and pursue action. Consistent with the second theme of advancing indigenous studies as a struggle is the idea that it requires concerted action. Apart from the calls for engagement with the state and state-based institutions, with universities and other sectors of society, there was the specific concern for promoting education among indigenous peoples and awareness among non-indigenous populations. The special concern for education has resulted in a variety of proposals – e.g., the creation of non-conventional schools for indigenous peoples, curricula for indigenous peoples and courses on indigenous studies in mainstream universities, accreditation of indigenous schools, the adoption of interculturality in universities, promoting the use of indigenous language or mother tongue in schools, etc. “
[13] The synthesis paper also mentioned that since the (battle)field of advocating indigenous studies is seen as a struggle, there were “references to “allies” or “friends”, “enemies”, “arenas of conflict or struggle”, “strategies”, etc. “ during the forum.
[14] Linda Tuhiwai Smith. Decolonizing Methologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. Zed Books Ltd: London UK and New York USA, University of Otago Press: Dundin NZ. 1999. p.39
[15] Also mentioned in the “UP Baguio, Tebtebba…”
[16] Decolonizing methologies… (1999). p56
[17] "For the Incas, there was a sacred balance in the world, one which men had the duty to preserve - the balance between man, nature and cosmos," he wrote. Capitalism is the right hand and Communism the left. With both hands the white man strangles the indigenous nation, slaving us and nature to machines. There's nothing they [Europe] can give us that we didn't already have before the Spanish came. Only their culture of death." From Viewpoint: A new nationalismBy Rodrigo Vazquez
[18] “from-us-for-us,” as translated by Ramon Guillermo, who, among many others, wrote a critique of Salazar’s project. See Pook at Paninindigan: Kritika ng Pantayong Pananaw (UP Press 2009). Like most critiques, Guillermo suggests trajectories for Pantayong Pananaw in “Exposition, Critique and New Directions for Pantayong Pananaw,” which may be accessed at:
[19] Jose Antonio Lucero. “FANON IN THE ANDES: Fausto Reinaga, Indianismo, and the Black Atlantic.” International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies. Volume 1, Number 1. University of Washington. 2008.
[21] See Vladimir Lenin. “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.” Selected Works: Volume 1. Progress Publishers: Moscow. 1963. pp667-766
[22] “Is this imperialism? No, we are told, this is post-colonialism. This is globalization. This is economic independence. This is tribal development. This is progress. Others tell us that this is the end of modernism, and therefore the end of imperialism as we have known it. That business is now over, and so are all its associated projects such as decolonization. People now live in a world which is fragmented with multiple and shifting identities, that the oppressed and the colonized are so deeply implicated in their own oppressions that they are no   more nor less authentic than anyone else.”  (Smith, 97)
[23] Makere Stewart-Harawira. New Imperial Order: Indigenous Responses to Globalization. Zed Books: London UK & Newyork, USA, Huia Publishers: Wellington, NZ. 2005.  p18
[24] Thomas König. “The Hegemony of Multiculturalism: A Comment on Will Kymlicka’s Theory of Nationalism.” Politicka misao. Vol. XXXVIII, (2001), No. 5, pp. 48–61. Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Göttingen
[25]  Alejandro N. Ciencia, Jr. “The Philippine Supreme Court and the Mining Act Ruling Reversal.” East West Center Working Papers, Nov 29, 2006.
[26] E. San Juan, Jr. US Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines. Palgrave Macmillan: New York. 2007 (p.xxiii)
[27] See the news article:
[28] This incident shows a full pledged violation in althusserian terms—as ideological state apparatus (ISA) and repressive state apparatus (RSA) explicitly collaborates. See the news article:
[29] See news article:
[30] The State of the World's Indigenous Peoples. Published by Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Social Policy and Development, Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, United Nations: New York, 2009.
[31] Live Danbolt Drange. “Power in Intercultural Education: ‘Education in Bolivia – from Oppression to Liberation?’” Journal of Intercultural Communication ISSN 1404-1634, issue 15, November 2007. Prof. Jens Allwood, ed. Norsk Lærerakademi / School of Religion, Education and Intercultural Studies, Norway.
[32] Rafael Loayza Bueno with Ajoy Datta. “The politics of Evo Morales’ rise to power in Bolivia: The role of social movements and think tanks.” RAPID research and policy in development. Overseas Development Institute, London UK: March 2011.
[33] Also mentioned and advocated by Cunningham in the “UP Baguio, Tebtebba…”
[34] As mentioned and elaborated by Njoki Wane in “[Re]Claiming my Indigenous knowledge: Challenges, resistance, and opportunities.” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. Vol. 2, No. 1, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada: 2013, p.101: “Nwawa (1997) argues that, of all aspects of Western imperialism, the one that Africans found most seductive was Western education. Other scholars such as Said (1994) and Ngugi (1986) demonstrate how education is interwoven with politics and culture to create and sustain systems of colonialism and domination. Ngugi has written on what he calls the ‘cultural bomb’, or the intellectual and spiritual tension we feel when torn between Western and Indigenous education.”
[35] Edward Said. Culture and Imperialism. Vintage books: New York. 1993. p xiii
[36] New Imperial Order…, p.80
[37] New Imperial Order…, p.200. Makere mentioned Maori academic Manuka Henare’s “spiral ethics for life,” and other principles elaborated in the book, but in the context of this article, perhaps any principle held dear will do.
[38] New Imperial Order…, p.201

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