Capability Calculation: When people choose between vital parts of being human

A capability calculation is how people make choices when faced with limits to fulfill their capabilities. Ideally in a flourishing society people have the opprotunity to fulfill all their capabilities.  All capabilities are important.  However, sometimes fulfilling one capability can put another at risk. When fulfilling one capability puts another at risk people choose which part of their personhood will increase and which will decrease.  Because capabilities are interconnected when people are forces to choose -especially below a certain threshold- allRead more

Islam, Human Capabilities and Development: A perspective from Basilan, Mindanao

Islam is important to development because it is important to people. The Islamic discourse –often defined differently by different groups- guides how people develop. This article shows that for many people Islam guides the development or lack of development of their capability domains. An understanding of Islam and development derived from the Yakan can guide development policy and practice in Mindanao as well as inform the larger Islam and development discussion. There are approximately 181,000 Yakan.  The Yakan live inRead more

Flourishing is…? The Good Life in Conflict: A Perspective from South-East Asia

The flourishing project. For over a year I asked people to tell stories of their best moments in life.  I asked people -young and old, female and male-  who would have a unique perspective.  Their perspective is unique because of their social disadvantage and the conflict that surrounds them.  Because of their ethnicity the people I asked face many hurtles.  However, -possibly as a result of the disadvantage- they are resilient, strong, friendly, and respectable people.  I asked people who are of Yakan decentRead more

The Gendered Results of Conflict: “We Live in Hell” vs. We were “Revolutionaries”.

Long-term conflict or crisis can cause women to fall below the human security threshold in many key domains and not recover as quickly as men.  Unequal recovery negatively impacts women’s opportunities to develop their capability domains compared to the opportunities of men. The Mindanao conflict is a story of conflict with disproportionate affects on women. The history of the Mindanao conflict is a reminder that conflict can increase male privilege and lead to unequal access to women’s capabilities development.  The conflictRead more

The Respect Principle -Fertile or Corrosive- Key to Peace in Mindanao

This article explores the idea of the respect principle which if understood -in policy and development practice- would have major impact for peace in Mindanao.  Short-term justice must look towards long-term flourishing. Nine months ago, I did research titled “Flourishing Amid Conflict” in Mindanao. Within this research, I worked with Yakan (residents of Basilan Island with a majority of Yakans identifying as Muslim by birth and choice). They defined what they viewed as the good life. The participants explained howRead more

A Tipping Point in Terror: “Those who Tell the Stories Rule Society.”

The discourse of terror is vicious cycle- moving from bad to worse. After writing the article Mistaken Identity and the Discourse of Terror I began to think of other tipping points research I had done revealed. Local terrorist movements that have been developing for many years can shed light on the global crisis. The local stories reflect global the global story. The local story I am most familiar with is the Southern Philippines. One tipping point is that the discourseRead more

The Discourse of Terror, Mistaken Identity and Reframing the Story

Terrorists control and perpetuate terror through using identity and creating a discourse of power.  Terror controls reality through creating fear.  Terrorists use identity to make themselves seem stronger than they are. Reactions -personal, political and media- reinforce terror and the discourse that birthed it.  A counter discourse that is stronger and moves more quickly needs to be created to silence the voice of terror. Nine months ago I sat in a small grass hut in the Southern Philippines. I interviewed a womenRead more

“If Peace is Missing we Can’t Do Anything but Hide.” Peace a Priority in Mindanao.

A few weeks ago a colleague and friend (in the southern Philippines) organized a petition to the Philippine government. His petition was to hasten the transition to the new Bangsamoro government. The Mindanao conflict has seen over 120,000 people die in the last 40 years. Bangsamoro is a new political entity. The hope is it will create peace and increased development for Mindanao. Individuals, people’s organizations, non-for profit organizations, and government employees from Basilan signed the petition. My friend organizedRead more