Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2021

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Jan Osborn


In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte launched an anti-drug campaign, cracking down on illegal drug use and illicit drug trade in the Philippines. Under his administration, the giyera kontra-droga has gained national and international scrutiny. Police admitted to killing more than 4000 drug suspects, and as of May 2018, more than 22,000 deaths were under investigation as unsolved killings possibly connected to the campaign (The Drug War Archive). While the Philippine government claims success in lowering crime rates and creating a safer environment for Filipinos, accusations of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations abound. Today, the full extent of the drug war’s impacts remains unclear. What is discernible, however, is language’s role. To understand how the promise of a drug crackdown, a former beacon of hope, came to the disproportionate murder of the urban poor, examining the interaction of language and power within the nation is imperative. Using Lyons’ theory of rhetorical imperialism and rhetorical sovereignty as a framework, this presentation explores the rhetoric of violence culpable in the orchestration of thousands of deaths while also presenting spaces of resistance in how the Filipino people push back and reclaim the administration’s deadly narratives.


Presented at the virtual Fall 2021 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.