Masákit sa Ginawa: A Manifestation of Fellow-feeling

Masákit sa Ginawa: A Manifestation of Fellow-feeling

by Contributed news

Rosa Cordillera Castillo discussing fellow-feeling in the context of Maguindanaons in Cotabato during the Marcos regime

“How do anthropologists study emotions? And what is the relationship between emotions, memory, imagination, and the (un)making of an imagined community, particularly in contexts of violence, the liminality of uncertain peace, and the struggle for the right to self-determination?” Sociocultural anthropologist Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo from Humboldt University Berlin approached this question during the 3rd Pagpakabana Lecture-Forum hosted by the Department of Sociology on February 22, 2018 at the CASSalida Theater, MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology through a discussion of particular Maguindanaon emotions such masakit sa ginawa (painful) that are borne out of remembering and imagining violence, especially the massacres committed against Muslims. This is based on her long-term ethnographic research among Maguindanaons in the Cotabato region, who participate and have a stake in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Bangsamoro struggle for the right to self-determination. She said, “In analyzing narratives and commentaries during my months of living in Mindanao, giving particular attention to words, phrases, expressions, and gestures related to emotions, I began to understand masakit sa ginawa as an emotion that is very much oriented towards one’s fellow to the extent that the pain of the other is felt in the self, hence fellow-feeling. Much later, I came across David Hume and Adam Smith’s discussion of fellow-feeling and found it to be a useful frame for a deeper analysis and more elaborated conceptualization of the term, particularly when put into dialogue with the anthropology of empathy of Douglas Hollan, Jason Throop, and their colleagues, as well as with current kinship theory.” She provided several vignettes and narratives of her interlocutors. She quoted one of them, for instance, who said that when he heard stories about the massacres committed against Muslims,“I felt the pain that was inflicted on my fellow Bangsamoro. It was as though it was really inside me.” This, he said, motivated him to join the Bangsamoro struggle.

Fellow-feeling, she suggested, are “sentiments that involve slippages between empathy, compassion, considerateness, and pity. It is an affective identification with the other whereby imagining the other’s plight and/or imagining our self in the other’s situation plays a central role in a process that involves both emotions and cognition. Fellow-feeling is particularly cogent in creating affective solidarity or feeling for the suffering of one’s fellows, and collective responsibility or doing something to ease their suffering.” And as Hume and Smith point out, it is shaped by imagined identification. That is, the emotions invoked when people remembered and imagined the violence that they and fellow Muslims suffered from “were often attached to imaginings of the circumstances of violence as well as to somatic and bodily metaphors of kin, through which identification with members of the imagined community of the Bangsamoro that overlaps with the umma (Islamic community) were imagined, felt, and expressed.”

She also provided insights into some of the dynamics of clan feuds and how kinship metaphors and idioms play a significant role in it. Castillo concluded the lecture-forum by emphasizing that imagined identification are shaped by political circumstances, by Islamic and Maguindanaon ideals of brotherhood and solidarity, by somatic and bodily metaphors of kinship, by the relational self, as well as by shared experiences with violence, marginalization, and neglect of Muslims in Mindanao.

The lecture-forum, entitled Emotions, Memories, and Imaginings of Violence: Insights from an Ethnography of Maguindanaons in the Cotabato Region, is the third instalment in the Pagpakabana lecture-forum series which aims: (1) to provide a venue for dialogue and sharing of experiences and perspectives; (2) to raise awareness of students and faculty on various pressing issues; (3) to offer an avenue that promotes engaged learning and critical thinking; and (4) to stimulate potential research engagements, partnerships and collaboration.

The first two sociological conversations on Re:Reading Rodrigo Duterte and Sociology in Latin America were hosted by Nicole C. Curato of the University of Canberra, Australia and Maria Cristina M. Cielo of Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede Ecuador, respectively. Both lecture-forums were conducted in January.

Castillo (center) with CASS faculty and students

Topics : sociology  lecture series  fellow-feeling

Socio Prof Launches First 2 Books on Mindanao

Socio Prof Launches First 2 Books on Mindanao

by Michelle Jeanne C. Caracut, Office of the Chancellor

Sociology Professor Arnold P. Alamon launched his two books on August 16, 2017, in MSU-IIT. The book launching was hosted by the Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), and the Department of Research of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE).

The first book, “Wars of Extinction: Discrimination and the Lumad Struggle in Mindanao”, contains stories of Lumad groups in Mindanao and their struggle for their rights to their ancestral lands. The second book, “Nations in Our Hearts: Essays on Mindanao”, is a compilation of writings that recall and examine social, political, and environmental situations that have affected and continue to affect the country and its people, with a special focus on Mindanao.

These books were first launched at the Xavier University Little Theater, Cagayan de Oro on August 12, 2017, Saturday.

 During the book launch at CASS, Dr. Jay Rey Alovera, faculty member of the same department, gave his review on his first book while Prof. Yasmira Moner from the Department of Political Science gave her review on the second book.

During the Book Launch, Alamon narrated how and when he started writing his books.

“The last time I was at the Xavier University Little Theatre was in 1992, 25 years ago. I was part of the Corpus Christi High School debating team and we were up against the Xavier High School team. It was the first year of the Ramos administration and he immediately engaged the Left in peace negotiations. The proposition was: should the communist rebels be given general amnesty by the government and we were in the affirmative side,” he said.

“I remember pleading at the opposing team to take the matter seriously and lamented that if the real negotiations mirrored their flair for comedy and histrionics, instead of debating on substantive matters on the root causes of why Filipinos rebel against government, then there would be no chance for peace in this land. 25 years later I am still making the same appeal for a just and lasting peace in these two books,” recalled Alamon.

CASS faculty members and staff lauded Alamon for his achievement.

Alamon, who is also a columnist for Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, extended his appreciation and gratitude to the department and to the Institute as well for the support and encouragement while he was writing his books.

Copies of the books are available at the Department of Sociology.

Topics : Book Launching  Alamon  Sociology

ADMU Prof and DOST-OYS lectures in IIT

ADMU Prof and DOST-OYS lectures in IIT

by Michelle Jeanne C. Caracut, OPI

It began from a conversation in February 2016 between the Department of Sociology of the College of Arts and Social Sciences and Dr. Jayeel S. Cornelio to deliver a lecture to sociology students on the Sociology of Religion. The reception was so positive during the lecture that the department discussed the possibility of him returning to the Institute as a Visiting Professor to teach a graduate course on Sociology of Religion.

Dr. Jayeel S. Cornelio, who recently received his tenure at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), took a leave of absence for two months which is the summer term in ADMU and taught as Visiting Professor in IIT from June to July.


 When asked why he chose to teach in IIT, the 2017 Department of Science and Technology (DOST)- Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) revealed to this writer three reasons.

 “The Department of Sociology in MSU-IIT is one of the strongest in the country. It is the only recognized Center of Development [CHED] …” said Cornelio.

 “The network is already there. I am the treasurer of the Philippine Sociological Society and we have at least two officers from MSU-IIT who are part of the board of the organization. We do have a working relationship with this department,” added Cornelio.

 He further expressed that it was also the deliberate choice of the sociologists from University of the Philippines-Diliman and ADMU to reach out to the universities in Mindanao. “That’s why for four years up until last year we were running the annual conference in Mindanao.” In 2015, the Institute hosted the National Conference of the Philippine Sociological Society.

 A sociologist of religion by training, Cornelio never felt scared in coming to Mindanao considering the ongoing conflict in Marawi, which is 45-minutes away from Iligan City.  He reasoned that maybe it is because of the inherent attitude of any good sociologist which is to be adventurous and a risk-taker. He believes that sociology thrives in ruptures, crisis, disasters and everything in between. “We’re very interested in what happens, to people especially, in moments like this,” he said.

Teaching in IIT

Cornelio started his class on June 19 and found his first day of teaching very interesting. He noticed his graduate class was totally diverse. “This is the kind of diversity I don’t think one would ever find easily in Luzon…. Here, diversity is a given and I find it really refreshing,” enthused Cornelio.

Part of the award he received as DOST-OYS is a research grant that he can use and he expressed his interest in doing a research on religion in Mindanao in collaboration with MSU-IIT through the Department of Sociology.

 At 35, Cornelio has been very successful in his career as his curriculum vitae is jammed pack with academic qualifications, appointments, honors and awards, research grants, and publications. One who is young and active in the academe and in the community, Cornelio sent inspiring words to sociology majors.

“Given the conflicts and the troubles that we are faced with today, sociology as a perspective is needed more than ever. Martial Law, ISIS, religious conflicts, diversification of migration, inequality, these are problems that didn’t happen overnight. These are problems that we should have seen long ago and these are problems we could address strategically given the right perspective. This is how sociology could contribute to enhancing our understanding of these complex problems. And what is sociology’s contribution? Understanding people. We do not assume that we know them. That’s why we have to talk to them,” he said.

“So, I hope that students will find it inspiring that sociology is an empowering perspective because it does not assume that it knows all the answers to the world’s problems. If anything, it assumes that it does not know anything. That’s why it is very important for sociologists to talk to people, to interview them, to gather data, and to understand the situation on the ground. It is only upon realizing and understanding the situation that we can do better in solving these problems,” he concluded.

Topics : Jayeel Cornelio  Visiting Professor  Sociology

A visit by La Trobe University’s Research Director

A visit by La Trobe University’s Research Director

“Mindanao is ideal for internationalizing its local government because it is at the crossroads,” so said Dr. Trevor Hogan, Research Director of Australia’s La Trobe University during his first visit to MSU-IIT.

Hogan introduced the programs and research thrusts of La Trobe University to a group of MSU-IIT’s Deans, Directors, Department Chairs and some faculty members during a luncheon-meeting held at the Boardroom on February 1, 2016.

Hogan talked about the 25 areas of discipline in humanities, the social sciences, science and technology in his university that was founded in 1967.  He talked about the multi-cultural make up of his university with 25 nations represented within its sprawling campus.   He emphasized the response of his university to many challenges of the faculty to engage with other disciplines and being cognizant of information technology integrating this in the academic setting.

Among the more significant aspects he shared with his audience was the indigenous strategy in education by introducing Trobe University freshmen to know about indigenous Australia and to learn about indigenous languages that provides much potential for research.

La Trobe University is among the top 400 universities in the world. It is located in Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia. In its official webpage, La Trobe is advertised as one of elite universities in the world with “more than a third of subjects assessed in the latest 25 World University Rankings.” UK today. La Trobe University is am we released in the UK today.

Dr. Feliciano B. Alagao, Vice Chancellor for Planning & Development for his part introduced the guests to MSU-IIT’s academic and extension programs, research thrusts and other achievements of the Institute.

An open forum followed after the presentations by Hogan and Alagao. (OPI News release)  

Topics : Sociology  La Trobe University  Visiting Professor

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

by Ian S. Embradura, OPI

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

With 250 registrants, 85 paper presentations, and 36 participating academic institutions, the Philippine Sociological Society (PSS) held its National Conference on October 16-17, 2015 at the Institute, with the theme “Sociology of Peace and Conflict: Contexts and Challenges”.

The conference theme, PSS President Dr. Filomin Candaliza-Gutierrez explained, not only is a call “to respond to urgency of issues on peace and conflict faced by the country today,” but also to present “a well sprint of theorizing, conceptualization, and research formulation in sociology and social sciences,” especially in interrogating the complexities of peace and conflict.

In partnership with IIT’s Department of Sociology, this is the first time PSS holds its conference at the Institute, and the second time in Mindanao.

“As a Mindanaoan, I have seen and felt…the poverty and structural inequities,” Director for Extension Dr. Nimfa L. Bracamonte said.

“This leads to the unending search and exploration for innovative strategies and absolutions to address these issues,” she said.

Adding to Gutierrez’s and Bracamonte’s opening remarks, Chancellor Tanggol said that in the long process of nation-building and as sociologists, there is a need “to go back to theory and redefine Filipino nation and our own concept of state.”

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

Chancellor Tanggol was also the speaker of the second plenary session at the conference

The first plenary session dealt with the dynamics of conflict and violence in Mindanao. Dr. Francisco Lara, Jr.’s presentation is a study on the conflict longevity in Mindanao where the grassroots and the shadow identities and violent entrepreneurs make the rules.

This was complemented by Nikki Philline C. Dela Rosa whose presentation explained how violent conflicts are not results of singular incidences, but instead asserted on the phenomenon of “violent conflict strings” as worth examining in investigating transition-induced violence and in exploring its effective disruption.

Lara, Country Director of International Alert- Philippines, is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of the Philippines Diliman. Dela Rosa also works with International Alert as the Deputy Country Manager and Head of Mindanao operations.

Chancellor Tanggol’s plenary address, on the other hand, discussed the potentials, prospects, and challenges of federalism as a peace structure that could address the roots of conflict in the context of Mindanao and the Philippines. His presentation further emphasized the relationship between the country’s structures of multiculturalism and the failure of a unitary political arrangement especially in addressing national concerns including the quest for a lasting peace in Mindanao.

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

Completing the three plenary sessions was Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, with her presentation entitled “May Tiwala: The Trust Factor in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation”. Ferrer is a professor at UP Diliman and is also the Chair of the Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Moro National Islamic Liberation Front.

After three plenary sessions, two featured panel sessions, and 21 parallel sessions, the national conference concluded in a closing ceremony where a group of Bajau youths, the Tambacan Real Dancers, gave a performance in what Bracamonte called “a story from the sea to the streets”.

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

Bracamonte wrapped up the event by posing a challenge to those present: sociologists should not be stuck at the theoretical level, but should “go to the field, feel the experiences of the people and then do something for development intervention.”

Addressing Issues on Conflict: IIT hosts the Sociological Society National Conference

Topics : CASS  Sociology