Indigeneity in the Cordillera (Philippines): On the Friction between Localities and Universalities
Hout, F. van der
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In this era of neoliberal globalization, cultural minorities increasingly define themselves as ‘indigenous peoples’. In this thesis I look into the way indigenous identity could be instrumentalized in order to create ‘indigenous space’ and alter power relations. The rise of these new cultural politics should be placed in the context of neoliberalism, in which power is exercised in a new way. Foucault calls this modern form of exercising power ‘governmentality’. At the heart of governmentality lie ‘biopolitics’ and its subjectivation processes in which ‘life’ and ‘politics’ could no longer be distinguished. In this thesis, I examine how the current indigenous movements fit in this neoliberal framework of exercising power and how these movements can successfully alter power relations, instrumentalizing ‘indigeneity’. Based on a case-study of the resistance of the indigenous peoples in the Cordillera (Philippines) to the construction of a windmill park and other corporate energy projects, I argue that indigenous identity is constructed on the friction between universalities and localities.