From Taovia to Trustees: male spokespersons and 'dangerous' land disputes in Kakabona

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper draws on research in Kakabona, a string of villages to the immediate west of Honiara, to explore the some of the ways in which rapid urbanisation and the intersection of the state and customary systems have worked to exacerbate social difference and inequality. Residents of this area often described land matters to me in terms that portrayed them as not only sensitive, but potentially dangerous matters analogous to pre-colonial warfare and raids. While land disputes in Kakabona and elsewhere in Solomon Islands are often perceived by foreigners simply in terms of a struggle over economic resources, I suggest that the metaphors used by residents of Kakabona direct attention the ontological challenges that urbanisation raises. Understanding these challenges throws light on the ways in which urbanisation is working to deepen social fragmentation and inequality. Drawing on the detailed study of two particular property disputes, I explore some of the reasons why people in Kakabona describe themselves as engaged in a struggle for survival, a struggle which is not only economic but profoundly ontological. I conclude by highlighting the fact that although people in Kakabona perceive themselves to be engaged in a struggle for their continued existence, they are negotiating this struggle through active, self-conscious re-evaluation of received ancestral models of place-making and identity. This creates immense space not only for anxiety, but also creativity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventSolomon Islands in Transition Workshop - Canberra, Australia.
    Duration: 1 Jan 2013 → …


    ConferenceSolomon Islands in Transition Workshop
    Period1/01/13 → …
    OtherMon Nov 04 00:00:00 AEST 2013
    Internet address


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