HomePhilippine Journal of Psychologyvol. 44 no. 1 (2011)

Shared and Contested Meanings in the Mindanao Conflict: Exploring People’s Understanding of Bangsamoro

Judith M. De Guzman | Charlie M. Inzon

Discipline: Cultural Studies, Social Studies



This research focused on the meanings of Bangsamoro (“Muslim nation”), a concept that lies at the heart of the Mindanao conflict in Southern Philippines. Discourse analysis, particularly Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, was used as an alternative social psychological approach to understand people’s discourses about Bangsamoro and the implications of these discourses on action orientation, social practices, and subjectivities. The qualitative responses of 300 Christian and Muslims students in three Mindanao localities to open-ended questions about Bangsamoro served as the text for discourse analysis. Findings showed four wider discourses about Bangsamoro: (1) Bangsamoro as religion, (2) Bangsamoro as an oppressive, destructive and violent struggle, (3) Bangsamoro as a struggle for rights, self-determination and peace, and (4) Bangsamoro as members of common humanity. Findings also showed that discourses about Bangsamoro were both shared and contested between social groups. The findings are discussed in relation to power, social change, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.