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Title: Bounding the lagoon : spatialising practices and the politics of rahui, Tongareva, Cook Islands
Author: Chambers, Charlotte Nesta Louise
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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This research is an exploration of the politics and governance of resource use and environmental conservation in the geographical context of Tongareva – a remote atoll in the northern Cook Islands, eastern South Pacific – with a specific focus on the harvest of a species of giant clam, pasua (Tridacna maxima). The thesis examines a range of management practices, social relations and ecological conditions in order to demonstrate the socio-political-ecological nexus that produces pasua management on the island. Theoretically, the dissertation engages with recent debates around the social and the environmental as mutually constitutive domains, elaborating this relation by demonstrating that the use and conservation of pasua is negotiated in and through space. In particular, the thesis examines the complex interplay and co-constitution of so-called customary mechanisms for resource management by examining the politics surrounding the practice of rahui, a form of harvest closure. I explore how exchange networks, authority structures and economic changes intersect to determine and shape the politics of pasua harvest and rahui on Tongareva and place both the island and pasua in very specific ways. The research combines an analysis of oral ecological histories, key player interviews, participant observation along with findings from a comprehensive survey of pasua abundance and distribution in the lagoon. It pursues this combination of data collection not in order to use ecological ‘facts’ to verify social ‘beliefs’ but because it sees such knowledges as different but equally valid – if differently empowered – forms of resource knowledge.  The dissertation also concludes that conservation in particular localities is never limited to events that occur in that context alone, but rather is connected to myriad other places by the movement of people, ideas and species.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available