The cover of "The Sovereign Trickster"

The Sovereign Trickster

Vicente Rafael, PhD ’84

As Rafael writes, the election of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte in May 2016 can in some ways be seen as part of a global trend toward authoritarianism. “Thanks to his tough-guy talk, his unapologetic misogyny, his unmitigated hostility to human rights, his taunting of President Obama and the United States, along with his warming relations with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and most of all his unremitting war on drugs waged by way of extrajudicial killings,” he writes, “Duterte has become a global sensation.” But in this volume from Duke University Press, subtitled Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte, the University of Washington history professor aims to more closely examine the specific factors that brought Duterte to power. As the publisher puts it, Rafael “is less concerned with defining Duterte as a fascist, populist, warlord, and traditional politician than he is with examining what Duterte does: how he rules, the rhetoric of his humor, his use of obscenity to stoke fear, and his projection of masculinity and misogyny.”

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