Tourism is now widely acknowledged to be a global phenomenon. The world population has grown rapidly, and improved standards of living have allowed more and more people to participate in tourism. There is a strong hunger for new destinations that require people to travel further, due to loss of authenticity, a desire to be original, or a longing for escape. Tourists have become much more demanding, expecting higher accommodation standards and engaging in increasingly energy intensive activities. Societies around the world have transformed into consumer-based entities, and international tourism often means that cultural differences are part of the attraction, and that cultural items are the center of the tourist gaze (Urry, 1990). Furthermore, the global tourism industry suffers from planned obsolescence – a condition in which a consumer good rapidly becomes obsolete and thus constantly requires replacement, or frequent changes. But what happens when this consumer good is a host country’s cultural identity, and the tourist product is consumed at the place it is produced?
Shock demographic statistics about population growth and rural-urban migration in the Pacific are continuously being presented in academic debate. Widmer’s (2013) article, Diversity as valued and troubled: social identities and demographic categories in understandings of rapid urban growth in Vanuatu, gives us an opportunity to analyses how demographic information is engaged with by urban populations and governance institutions in Vanuatu. It analyses how a defined demographic crisis is experienced locally, as well as how it is leveraged in political process. Greg Watt discusses the question how Ni-Vanuatu navigate kastom and modernity in this context of demographic flux and categorization. Lucas Watt discusses how demographic information is used as a political tool to paradoxically unite citizens under a national identity, as well as divide along rural-urban lines in favor of more global cosmopolitan identities. Overall, Widmer’s (2013) article provides a unique perspective that directly focuses on responses to the process of demographic defining and categorization that dominates the region.
Just like the green economy, the blue economy has a triple bottom line of environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic growth. This broad concept of blue economy is starting to be used by a diverse array of social, political, and environmental actors, across different regions of the world; however what is also clear is that depending on who is using or applying the term there is also a diverse array of emphasis on which one of these objectives are the most important in relation to the others. It is this context of conceptual variability that different actors emphasize within the term we analyze Voyer et al (2018), “Shades of Blue: what do competing interpretations of the blue economy mean for oceans governance?”.
Tilot, et al. (2021), “Traditional dimensions of seabed resource management in the context of Deep-Sea Mining in the Pacific”, provides a level of depth to some of the current issues and concepts concerning deep-sea mining in the Pacific. It analyses how traditional knowledge and values are incorporated, ignored, or misrepresented in emerging deep-sea legal frameworks which mining companies must navigate. This review analyses how Tilot, et al. (2021) characterize and bridge the relationship between traditional knowledge/values and legal frameworks applied to the ocean.
Hobbis and Hobbis (2021) investigate the social divergence of the governing elite of the Solomon Islands with the local villages which they purport to represent. It is a descriptive article that explores the perspectives and opinions of the rural people that the elite stand for, as well as a number of elites themselves. Covering much of the history of Solomon Island governance, and the problems associated with centralisation, the article reveals that the issue is more complex than a disconnection between leaders and their constituencies.
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.