Skip to main content

Garrido, Marco. “A conjunctural account of upper-and middle-class support for Rodrigo Duterte.” International Sociology (2020): 0268580920945978.


Philippine scholars have largely interpreted Duterte’s support among the upper and middle class as a rejection of the previous administration’s incremental reformism. They also point to the growing appeal of a politics of discipline. These explanations are insufficient. They cannot tell us why the upper and middle class supported Duterte when they did in 2016. The Aquino administration was not the first to disappoint and Duterte hardly the first avatar of discipline to appear on the political scene. In this article the author argues that we need to understand support for Duterte as having crystallized over time with respect to a series of events. Specifically, we need to account for the trajectory of democracy in the Philippines and the contingency of support for him. By placing this support in conjunctural context, we are better able to understand the upper and middle classes’ predisposition to ‘strong leaders’ and their turn to Duterte in 2016.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.