Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

"Spectacular and Slow Onset Mining Disasters in the Philippines: Lessons for Risk Society"

Lecture by Emerson Sanchez (Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Governance, University of Canberra) for the 2018 Philippine Studies Summer Lectures at HU-IAAW
  • When May 03, 2018 from 06:00 to 08:00
  • Where Room 117, Invalidenstrasse 118, 10115 Berlin
  • iCal

Lecture: "Spectacular and Slow Onset Mining Disasters in the Philippines: Lessons for Risk Society"



This paper presents two cases of mining disasters in the Philippine island of Marinduque. The first case happened in 1996 in Boac. The second case occurred over the period of 1975 to 1991 in Santa Cruz. Both disasters resulted in massive environmental degradation and social costs, but only the Boac tragedy prompted immediate global attention and policy reforms. The difference, I argue, is the spectacular character of the Boac disaster. Unlike the Santa Cruz disaster that unfolded in a small-scale, gradual, and dispersed manner, the Boac tragedy, popularly called the Marcopper Mining Disaster, was abrupt, visual, and dramatic. I argue that the pain of slow onset disasters tends to be obscured by focusing attention on their spectacular counterparts. The normative case study analysis highlights the dimension of Ulrich Beck’s risk society that reflexivity is generated by risks accompanied by spectacle. As the findings showed that both spectacular and slow onset disasters cause enormous environmental damage and human suffering, risk society needs to recognize the spectacular potential of slow onset risks that society commonly face.
About the speaker:
Emerson Sanchez is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis. He has conducted research on natural resource politics, social movements, and peace-building in the Philippines. He completed his BA in Journalism at the University of the Philippines Diliman and his MA in International Public Policy at the University of Tsukuba. He was an instructor of research and communication at the University of the Philippines Manila and a policy researcher for various organisations.
2018 Philippine Studies Summer Lectures schedule
Time: 18-20 Uhr (ST)
Venue: Room 117, Invalidenstrasse 118

May 3: Spectacular and Slow Onset Mining Disasters in the Philippines: Lessons for Risk Society - Emerson Sanchez, PhD candidate, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Governance, University of Canberra


May 17: Inhabiting the Everyday through the Bangsamoro Imaginary: Insights from an Ethnography of Moro Islamic Liberation Front Adherents - Rosa Cordillera A. Castillo, Department for Southeast Asian Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


May 24: Witnessing Death: Photographing the Philippine Drug War – Prof. Vicente Rafael, Department of History, University of Washington


June 7: (re)Thinking Philippine Migration from the "Margins". The Case of Muslim Migrant Domestic Workers to the Middle-East – Dr. Julien Debonneville, Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen


June 14: Duterte’s Violent Populism: Legitimacy and Injustice in the Philippines - Prof. Mark Thompson, Department of Asian and International Studies, City University of Hong Kong


June 20: Social Media and Collective Activism: Reclaiming Marawi City – Dr. Elin Anisha Guro, English Department, Mindanao State University-Marawi


July 2: Long-Distance Care: Filipino Migrants’ Engagement in Development Projects at Home - Dr. Helena Patzer, Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences/Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw


July 9: Stories from the Ground Up: Newspaper Accounts of the Chinese in the Philippines at a Time of U.S. Expansion in the Pacific, 1899-1905 - Prof. Richard T. Chu, Department of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst


July 18: Bakwit as Protest: Displacements and Evacuations as Form of Resistance and Medium of Social Campaign - Andrea Malaya Ragragio, PhD candidate, Department of Anthropology, Leiden University
About the Philippine Studies Series Berlin
The Philippine Studies Series Berlin is a platform for lectures, discussions, and art and film events regarding the Philippines, Filipina/o/x, and the diaspora. Formed in December 2014, it aims to promote Philippine and Filipina/o/x studies in Berlin and Germany and open spaces for dialogue. It is now part of the HU Department for Southeast Asian Studies. For more info, please visit: