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From Rolling Thunder to Reggae: Imagining Squatter Settlements in Papua New Guinea

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Title: From Rolling Thunder to Reggae: Imagining Squatter Settlements in Papua New Guinea
Authors: Goddard, Michael
Keywords: crime
housing
poverty
squatter settlements
urbanization
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Goddard, M. 2001. From Rolling Thunder to Reggae: Imagining Squatter Settlements in Papua New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 13 (1): 1-32.
Abstract: As Papua New Guinea’s well-publicized “law and order” problem continues
unabated, calls are often made for the destruction of squatter settlements and the
dispersal of their inhabitants as a solution to urban crime. This article examines
the popular imagery of urban “squatter settlements” in Papua New Guinea,
which represents them as criminogenic habitats of unemployed and impoverished
migrants. The imagery is generally as misleading as that of squatter and
shanty environments elsewhere in the third world—a topic that is familiar in
critical academic literature. But it is argued here that the shared imagery cannot
be submitted to an analysis that simply draws on political-economic generalizations
about housing and marginalization in “developing” nations. The notion of
squatter settlements in the independent nation of Papua New Guinea has a specific
origin in the imagination and attitudes of Europeans in the preceding colonial
period. The historical transformations through which the imagery has been
perpetuated are examined to understand how present-day urban Papua New
Guineans can continue to demonize settlements in the face of lived experience
that contradicts this censorious discourse.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/13315
ISSN: 1043-898X
Appears in Collections:TCP [The Contemporary Pacific ], 2001 - Volume 13, Number 1



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