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Compensation and the Melanesian State: Why the Kwaio Keep Claiming

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Title:Compensation and the Melanesian State: Why the Kwaio Keep Claiming
Authors:Akin, David
show 2 moreSolomon Islands
urban violence
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LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals.
Date Issued:1999
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:Akin, D. 1999. Compensation and the Melanesian State: Why the Kwaio Keep Claiming. The Contemporary Pacific 11 (1): 35-67.
Abstract:As Melanesian countries enter their third decade of independence, diverse local
communities are seeking to transform their status in relation to the state. Many
are attempting to frame their interactions with government in terms of indigenous
cultural models that presume social equivalence. When thus applied, these
models themselves acquire new meanings. This paper explores this process in
relation to ideas about compensation among Malaitans in the Solomon Islands
who have since independence pressed several claims against the central government.
The focus is on a series of claims made by Kwaio people, beginning in the
1980s, regarding crimes of a 1927 punitive expedition that followed the assassination
of a district officer and his party. Ethnographic, historical, and political
analyses are combined to explain why Kwaio find this compensation demand
such an appealing way to approach the government. The case also illuminates
violent compensation riots that rocked the capital, Honiara, in 1989 and 1996.
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1999 - Volume 11, Number 1

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