‘Failed’ or resilient subaltern communities? Pacific indigenous social protection systems in a neoliberal world
AbstractThe notion of failed state is based on culturally, historically and ideologically slanted lenses and tends to rank post-colonial societies at the lower end of the Failed State Index (FSI). Likewise, the Social Protection Index (SPI) uses neoliberal and Western-based variables and tends to disadvantage subaltern post-colonial communities as in the Pacific. This article reverses this trend by arguing for a re-examination of the factors which shape the resilience and adaptability of local communities, something which has always been ignored by mainstream classificatory schemas such as the FSI and SPI. To this end, the article examines the indigenous and local human security and social protection systems in the Pacific and how these provide support mechanisms for community resilience and adaptation in the face of a predatory neoliberal onslaught and globalisation. It focuses on kinship, reciprocity, communal obligation and communal labour as examples of social protection mechanisms in four case studies—Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati and Vanuatu. Of significance here is the role of critical and progressive journalists and media in deconstructing the ideological and cultural bias embedded in these discourses.
Copyright (c) 2014 Steven Ratuva
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