This week we discussed Rousseau and Taylor’s (2012) article “Kastom Ekonomi and the Subject of Self-Reliance”. This is a particularly pertinent topic to discuss during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oceanic communities disconnected to the rest of the world due to border shut downs have been turning to the traditional economy to get by. For many (although certainly not all), this turn to the kastom ekonomi has been positively experienced as relational systems of sharing and reliance have been reinvigorated. As a result, Pacific leaders and scholars have been commenting that the COVID-19 context has given a rare opportunity rethink how Pacific economies operate. Specifically they have asked whether kastom ekonomi provides an avenue to shed dependency on developed nations and the fickle global economy. Rousseau and Taylor (2012) provided a basis for thinking about this possibility, its obstacles, and practicalities.
In the public imaginary, Oceania is a remote region of tropical paradise, perfect for a family holiday away from the troubles of everyday life. As much as Oceania’s geographic, political and economic remoteness defines its islands as alluring holiday destinations, Chris Ryan (2001) argues that it is this very remoteness that also defines the tourism sector in Oceania as a “case of marginalities”. He argues in his article; Tourism in the South Pacific – A Case of Marginalities, that Oceania’s multifaceted remoteness marginalises its peoples, communities, and nations involved in the tourism sector. In this journal article review, Lucas Watt, Roxane de Waegh, and Greg Watt critique Ryan (2001) in reference to the current context in Oceania.
Trundle, A. (2021). Climate resilience through socio-cultural mobility: Re-framing the Pacific’s urban informal settlements as critical adaptation pathways. DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN, 82.
Lilomaiava-Doktor, S. I. (2009). Beyond” migration”: Samoan population movement (malaga) and the geography of social space (vā). The Contemporary Pacific, 1-32.
Article Discussed: Coxon, E. (2002). From Patronage to Profiteering? New Zealand’s educational relationship with the small states of Oceania. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 34(1), 57-75.
Article discussed: Farbotko, C., & McMichael, C. (2019). Voluntary immobility and existential security in a changing climate in the Pacific. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 60(2), 148-162.
Article Discussed: Bedford, R. (2016). Pacific migration futures: ancient solutions to contemporary and prospective challenges?. The Journal of Pacific Studies, 36(1), 111-124.
Article Discussed: Leslie, H., & Wild, K. (2018). Post-hegemonic regionalism in Oceania: examining the development potential of the new framework for Pacific regionalism. The Pacific Review, 31(1), 20-37.
Article Discussed: Dobrin, L. M. (2020). A ‘Nation of Villages’ and a Village ‘Nation State’: The Arapesh Model for Bernard Narokobi’s Melanesian Way. The Journal of Pacific History, 55(2), 165-186.
In this article, we investigate how participatory development programs are implemented in our own under-covered region of Oceania. We investigate how participatory programs do the opposite of what they promote, to subordinate local populations to pre-set foreign agendas. This idea is firstly explored in a discussion on the historical emergence of participatory development as a form of governance. We secondly analyze how such participatory development projects have been implemented in the Fijian Sugar Industry and in Community Based Fishery Management across Oceania. Lastly, we discuss the potential of Oceanic governments to break free of the mind trick of participatory development, and to reclaim the Oceanic development agenda.