The University of Wisconsin Press

Asian Studies / History / Politics


An Anarchy of Families
State and Family in the Philippines
Edited by Alfred W. McCoy
With a new preface

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Alfred W. McCoy, R. Anderson Sutton, Thongchai Winichakul, and Kenneth M. George, Series Editors

“Rends the canopy of ‘civility’ and ‘culture’ surrounding the ruling families of the Philippines, revealing long histories of opportunism and violence.”
—Patricio Abinales, Kyoto University

Winner of the Philippine National Book Award, this pioneering volume reveals how the power of Filipino family-based oligarchies both derives from and contributes to a weak, corrupt state. From provincial warlords to modern managers, prominent Philippine leaders have fused family, politics, and business to subvert public institutions and amass private wealth—an historic pattern that continues to the present day.

Edited by Alfred W. McCoy, An Anarchy of Families explores the pervasive influence of the modern dynasties that have led the Philippines during the past century. From the Osmeñas to the Lopezes and Pardo de Taveras, elite Filipino families have acted as formidable coalitions —controlling capital, dominating national politics, and deploying paramilitary force. Beyond Manila, strong men such as Ramon Durano, Ali Dimaporo, and Justiniano Montano have used “guns, goons, and gold” to accumulate wealth and power in far-flung islands and provinces.

Alfred W. McCoy is J. R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His books include The Politics of Heroin and A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror.

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Cover of An Anarchy of Families is orange with black and white photos of individuals with guns.

February 2009

600 pp. 6 x 9  
65 b/w photos,
7 maps, 9 b/w illus.

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Paper $29.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-22984-9
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Wisconsin edition not for sale in the Philippines.

Contributors included Jeremy Beckett, G. Carter Bentley, Michael Cullinane, Brian Fegan, Resil B. Mojares, Ruby R. Paredes, and John Sidel.

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Updated June 7, 2012

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