Imagining Governance: Presidents of Today and Youth of the Future

Organizer: Philippine Sociological Society

The panel imagines the present and the future of the country through a juxtaposition of the narratives that represent the 2016 presidential candidates and the predicament of the country’s future, it young citizens. By reflecting on the storyline the support the candidacies of the presidentiables and examining two specific dimensions of the lives of the youth today: work dispositions and religious education, the panel invites participants to reflect how we imagine preparing the country for its future citizens. The panel calls attention to concepts on governance such as democratic discourse, fields of power and fields of struggle, and diversity, and how these concepts find realization in the context of politics through election discourse, economy through employment for the youth, and culture through religious literacy.

Panel Chair: Dr. Nimfa L. Bracamonte, Board of Directors Member, Philippine Sociological Society

The Imagined President: Narrative Analysis of the 2016 Presidential Race
Nicole Curato, Canberra University and  Patricia Evangelista, Rappler
This paper aims to critically examine the narratives of the 2016 presidential race. We aim to piece together disparate tweets, memes, op-ed pieces, interviews, advertisements and soundbites from various media platforms to generate a coherent storyline from the perspective of candidates, critics and spectators. We ask the question: What are the narratives that arc through the 2016 Presidential elections?

We consider narratives an important component of political life. Narratives give us a coherent storyline by which we interpret our shared experience as a nation. They give us context for understanding a complex situation. They provide analytical clarity by exposing how various personalities articulate their understanding of how social reality operates. By mapping the protagonist, the antagonist and supporting characters, the virtues and flaws of lead actors, as well as the conflicts, predicaments, struggles and possible conclusions of the campaign season, we hope to spot which parts of a candidate’s story persuade us, what makes us sceptical or leave us undecided and confused. We hope not only to characterise the complexity of candidates but also underscore the social context that gives rise to their stories.


Politically, we appreciate narratives as our cue to take a step back and reflect on how various content creators shape the public sphere, how we consume them as audiences, and how we can critically engage them as active citizens. This series, we hope, encourages ‘slow’ opinion-making, promote a disposition of listening, perspective-taking and charitable understanding. There is a deficit of these democratic virtues in an era of fast politics. Paying close attention to narratives is our attempt at taking pause, finding space for deliberation and reflection.


Mga Mundo ng Istambays: A Sociological Analysis of Social Fields and Work Orientations of Self-Reported Istambays in Four Research Sites
Joseph Lawrence Jimenez, Mark Anthony Abenir, and Clarence M. Batan, University of Santo Tomas

This paper explores the social fields of self-reported istambays in four research sites (Calamba and Bay, Laguna, Talim Island and Tondo, Manila) through an analysis of their work orientations relative to the fields of education, family, government, and peers (barkada). Using data from the CHED UST PHERNET funded project, The Social Investigation on the Lives of Istambays in the Philippines (SILIP), this paper uses selected variables combined with qualitative interviews to describe the social nexus between social fields and work orientations of these istambays.  Primarily using Bourdieu’s notion of “social fields”, the paper provides a view of what may be considered as “fields of power” and “fields of struggles” of these istambay respondents, and argues how these fields shape their work dispositions.  In the end, this paper suggests reflective insights on how these fields may be negotiated by these istambays in order to transition well into having livelihood, and thus, becoming productive adults, and hopefully, enjoy sustainable futures.


Fostering Religious Literacy in Philippine Public High Schools: Assessing Possibilities and Challenges
Manuel Victor J. Sapitula, Department of Sociology, University of the Philippines Diliman

The implementation of the K-12 curriculum in the Philippines allows for a closer look at the challenges in fostering religious literacy in the current public school system. Incorporated into the school curricula of various countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and India, religious literacy aims to equip students in dealing with the realities of religious pluralism and diversity in contemporary societies. This paper looks into the concept of “religious literacy” in the Philippine context using approaches from the sociology of religion and sociology of education. Using insights from existing literature on religious literacy in other countries, the paper assesses local experiences of religious diversity that is relevant in framing classroom instruction and the training of educators. This paper aims to contribute sociological insights that influence the content and pedagogical approaches of religious literacy programs that will be used in Philippine public high schools.