The challenges facing the global south: perspectives from the Philippines

In: Bandung

International Relations scholarship highlights the differences of the countries in the global south. The postcolonial histories of countries herein give rise to unique experiences that push them to consolidate their states at the soonest time possible even as they are inextricably integrated in an international system that is biased towards the great powers. This double pressure either makes or break a state, and it is this tension that is the focus of the special issue. This concluding article offers a bird’s-eye view of the nuances of the differences of the global south and the problems associated with it. I argue that while the differences may indeed be unique, not seeing beyond those is problematic. In line with this, I first acknowledge the differences the global south represents. I look at how the International Relations concepts of state, rational choice, and the international system are seen as inapplicable to the workings of the global south, and how this “misfit” is detected not only in the dynamics of Philippine foreign policy, but also in its relationships with various regional powers like the United States and China. I then turn to the problems associated with seeing only the differences of the global south. I highlight the concepts of mimicry and hybridity before examining the cases of the Philippines’ labor conditions, human security for migrant workers, and disability-related issues. In all these, caution, mindfulness, and the need for dialogue are therefore called for.

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