"We are Rodrigo Duterte": Dimensions of the Philippine Populist Publics' Vote

Cleve Arguelles

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Populism is about populist publics as much as it is about populist leaders. Presently, they are pejoratively represented in public and academic conversations. Populist voting is mostly approached as a social pathology, especially in mainstream populism studies. This study is a contribution to the emerging tradition of extending empathetic approaches to the study of populist publics by interrogating how populist supporters make sense of their votes and politics through their own perspectives. Using a year‐long political ethnography of supporters of populist Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte in a big slum community in Metro Manila, this research offers an intimate understanding of the electoral motivations of those who voted for him. Specifically, their vote for the populist Duterte is about making their everyday misery visible, bringing authenticity to politics, and overcoming bureaucratic inertia. Empirical observations in the field reveal the unique threefold representational, experiential, and action‐oriented dimensions of populist publics' vote in the Philippines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)417-437
    JournalAsian Politics and Policy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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