PANEL 2 – Method


Articulating different goals and approaches

Chairperson: Serina Abdul Rahman, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

“Participant observation” has been widely discussed as being an oxymoron, and the contradiction in terms is only exacerbated when it comes to studying political movements, especially those one might feel aligned with. (How) is it possible to articulate participation, involvement and critical analysis? Wjhich shape to give to collaborations implicating activists and researchers within the framework of a collective action? What kind of tensions are prone to emerge between activists, academic researchers and professional researchers around the research process, the purpose and methods of knowledge production and dissemination (Edelman 2009: 247)? We welcome concrete examples of doing fieldwork within alterpolitical movements and navigating conditions, expectations and time frames. The presenters will discuss experiences of shared objectives, equitable synergies and reciprocal enrichment in crosssectoral research. They will also address the potential negotiations led by the researchers in order to maintain a critical distance toward movements’ official narratives, to address uncomfortable questions and to resolve questions of research findings’ ownership.
Edelman, Marc, “Synergies and tensions between rural social movements and professional Researchers”,
Journal of Peasant Studies, 36 (1), 2009: 245265.

  • Sudarat Musikawong, Tammy Ko Robinson, Teeranong Sakulsri, Sopit Cheevapanich, Sirijit Sunanta, Suchada Thaweesit, Adisorn Kerdmongkol, Charamporn Holumyong, Semi Kwon & Pichaiwat Saengprapan (Mahidol University, Institute for Population and Social Research) Transversals and Migrant Workers Rights: MMC Social Lab Inter-sectoral Dialogues and Alter-Politics

We discuss findings from Mahidol Migration Center ongoing Social Lab’s projects aimed at addressing complex challenges in Thailand’s labor migration, including shifting national-level discourse about migration policies and their implementation toward rights-based agendas currently excluded from national standard labor laws and migrant worker protections.  Our papers engage the potentials to co-produce knowledge, in the form of media engagements in Samut Sakhon Province and field research in Hua Hin Province that improve the socio-economic conditions and health challenges faced by both internal and international migrants under Covid-19 in the sectors of fisheries and tourism.

Gendered opportunities and constraints of low-end wellness and recreational tourism workers in Thailand- Sirijit Sunanta/ Mahidol University.

Pedagogical Endeavors in Journalism Reporting on Migrant Workers in Samut Sakhon- Sudarat Musikawong/ Mahidol University, Tammy Ko Robinson/ Hanyang University, Pichaiwat Saengprapan/ Chulalongkorn University.


Sirijit Sunanta is Associate Professor in the Multicultural Studies Program, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Sudarat Musikawong is Associate Professor at the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Thailand (co-authors not able to join: Tammy Ko Robinson (School of Education Hanyang University), Pichaiwat Saengprapan (Chulalongkorn University Journalism));;;;;;

  • Cruz-Claudio, Valerie May M. (Ateneo de Manila University, History Department) – Constitutional Rights, Crimes and Cruelty: The Filipino Woman in Selected Laws and Jurisprudence from the Third Republic to the Present

This research aims to show how selected Philippine laws and jurisprudence can be used as primary sources in historical research. In particular, about the Filipino woman, who is prone to abuse, discrimination and harassment. Despite these, the Filipino woman was an active agent in her history from the early times such as the case of the babaylan and katalonan, the katipunera during the Philippine Revolution, the suffragette during the Commonwealth; and woman guerilla during World War II. Laws and jurisprudence introduced by the Spaniards and the Americans such as the Codigo Civil that later became the Civil Code of the Philippines and Codigo Penal that later became the Revised Penal Code made the Filipino woman an object of laws and placed her legal personality insubordinate to a Filipino man. Jurisprudence also made the Filipino woman subject to customs and stereotyping. The Philippine Commonwealth opened the door for Filipino woman’s political participation through the Suffrage Bill. After World War II from being an object of the laws, she slowly became an author of her own laws. This is reflected in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, the Family Code and other special laws such as the Magna Carta of Women and Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Law. By taking a closer look at some of these laws one can understand both the obstacles and triumphs that a Filipino woman had to overcome to be considered a partner from the perspective of law and jurisprudence in building the nation.

Keywords: history; laws; jurisprudence; women; legislation

Biography: Valerie May M. Cruz-Claudio is a full-time instructor from the History Department of Ateneo de Manila University. She graduated from the University of the Philippines, Diliman Departmento ng Kasaysayan with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in History. She is currently enrolled in their Ph.D. Program. She taught Philippine History at San Beda College Alabang where she also holds a law degree. In 2013, she co-founded the Environmental Law Society. Her field of research interests is local history, biography and intellectual history. For her MA thesis, she researched the “Talambuhay at Kasaysayang Intelektwal ni Camilo Osias.” She is also doing research on the local history of her hometown, Olongapo. Currently, she is writing about the life and works of a Filipina intellectual, Dr. Josefa M. Saniel and the history of Philippine laws and jurisprudence on women during the contemporary period of Philippine History.

  • Thanh Thanh, Phan (Institute of Human Studies, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences) – Farmer Resistance through the lens of social movement: A Case of Agricultural Land Conversion in Peri-Urban Hanoi

The paper will explore the specific cases of farmers’ resistance in the peri-urban areas in Hanoi, Vietnam. To be able to understand the case study, theories of rightful resistance, civil disobedience, and social movement will be applied in the presentation. The paper’s overall aim is to answer the research questions (1) how do farmers resist agricultural land conversion and why are there different forms of resistance? and (2) how does the resistance turn into the rights claim of farmers and if it leads to regime change? In terms of methodology, data were collected from both secondary and primary sources. The secondary sources provided in the article include academic books, journal articles and online media on prominent cases of land protests due to the conversion of agricultural land in peri-urban Hanoi in the recent 10 years. On the primary source, data collection follows an anthropological approach by case study via qualitative interviews namely key informant interviews with different informants such as farmers as resistors, lawyers and academics to further understand how farmers resist the agricultural land conversion. The main arguments of the paper are (1) farmers’ strategies are varied both from formal to informal forms of actions to influence public opinion as well as political and legal decisions of the Party and the State. (2) Claim for land rights goes beyond social economic rights namely the rights to livelihood and civil political rights namely rights to information and participation without changing the system. In terms of contributions, (1) this article contributes to the field methods of collecting data for sensitive topics in a relatively closed context in authoritarian states. (2) It is a value added to the existing literature on farmers’ resistance studies in Vietnam. (3) The article also contributes theoretically by applying interdisciplinary theories to synthesize farmers’ resistance in Vietnam. This research is of theoretical significance in terms of qualitative research on land protests at the grass root level.

Keywords: agricultural land conversion, farmer resistance, social movement, human rights, peri-urban, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Biography: Phan Thanh Thanh is a full-time researcher at the Institute of Human Studies, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS). Her study focuses on human rights, human security, and development. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP), Mahidol University, Thailand. Her research topic is land law, agricultural land conversion, and farmer resistance in Vietnam. She earned her Master’s degree in Social Science (International Development) from the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, and her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the Academy of Journalism and Communication, Vietnam.

  • Choir, Mifachul (Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP), Mahidol University) –Corruption as Human Rights: Vernacular Mobilization of Anti-Corruption Movement in Indonesia

This study examines how the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Indonesia built anti-corruption movements despite the constraining socio-political context in Indonesia. Applying the collective action framework, this research argues that NGOs translate, transform, and circulate the meaning of anti-corruption activism set in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) into an appropriate environment where they operate. The translation results in rights consciousness through redefining the meaning of corruption, victimization of corruption, mainstreaming anti-corruption techniques, circling the human rights frame through capacity-building training, and multiplying the task of vernacularization to local NGOs. The study contributes to the scholarship of Indonesian social movements that were paying more attention to the efficacy and evaluation of NGOs movement rather than the process of how they built the movement. Moreover, this study also argues that in the absence of leftist politics, human rights discourse is applicable to articulate justice demands and mobilize citizens for liberal reforms.

Keywords: anti-corruption, non-governmental organization, social movement, vernacularization, UNCAC.

Biography: Mifachul Choir is a postgraduate student at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP), Mahidol University. Prior to his study, Miftachul also worked as a political-corruption CSO, Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), where he published reports on the conflict of interest cases in Indonesia such as on the coal mining industry, specialized economic zone, and Covid-19 management. Miftachul also published an article on Indonesian foreign policy in the Journal of Global Strategic Studies (JGSS).

  • Wiratraman, Herlambang (Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada, LP3ES) Politics of Student Press Journalism: Struggle for Press Freedom and Academic Freedom

A number of studies on Indonesia’s student press journalism have been carried out, and the activities of their movements have a significant influence on social movements in Indonesia (Moh. Fathoni, et al, 2012; AE Siregar 1983; Didik Supriyanto 1998). This article is based on research to understand the politics of the student press journalism movement, especially those students who join the nationalbased Indonesian Student Press Association (PPMI). The association has members and a large network on various campuses in Indonesia. KIKA as a movement alliance for academic freedom, since 2018 has created a special task force to defend the student press journalism movement. In the records of the PPMI National Advocacy Program (2020), there were 58 types of repression from 33 cases of repression against the student press during 20172019. The most common type of repression experienced by the student press was intimidation, with a total of 20 occurrences. The other cases were related to beatings (eight times), threats of ‘dropping out’ (four times), criminalization (four times), and kidnapping (three times). The repression has been constantly repeated and also shows systemic impunity. The root of the problem is the lack of recognition of the right to express opinions, while there is no specific legal mechanism to protect them. On the other hand, campuses often downplay the issue by accusing student press journalism activities as a form of defamation of the campus. When the student press criticizes, the campus does not want to accept such criticism is a legal form of protecting freedom of expression. In the midst of such pressure, PPMI seeks to encourage a more protective legal framework, especially in protecting press freedom and academic freedom. This study employs an interdisciplinary approach. It aims to explain how student press journalism actually fights for freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and academic freedom. To what extent does the effectiveness of the movement mean that it produces success? How do they connect their press activities to larger strategic social movements on the ground, especially in the context of Indonesia’s declining democracy?