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Title: The constraints of 'feeling free' : becoming middle class in Honiara (Solomon Islands)
Author: Gooberman-Hill, Rachael Jane Sara
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis explores the emergence of an urban middle class in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific. The field research for the thesis took place over a total of 14 months in the Solomon Islands between 1996 and 1998, focusing on the minutiae of quotidian life among members of the middle class. 1990s Honiara was a rapidly growing urban centre, which had drawn its residents from the 60 language groups of the Solomon Islands. The thesis examines how affluent Honiarans were identifying themselves as a discrete group of urbanites with both ethnic and cosmopolitan identities: a middle class. In particular, they constructed nuclear households based on inter-ethnic marriages and friendships, and attempted to distance themselves from their rural and less affluent relatives by their quotidian practices both within and outside households. By focusing on different spheres of everyday life, I explain urbanities' constructions of "home" versus "town", kastom ("custom"), ethnicity, appropriate sociability and morality. Their constructions intersected one another in ways that provoked both discord and harmony. These urbanities were ambivalent about their self-made middle class identities, which they summed up in the Pijin phrase "fil fri" ("to feel free" or "feeling free"). They used this to refer to their relative freedom in town while acknowledging that such freedom was often constrained by the demands, obligations and values of ethnicity, kinship, kastom and life at "home", which they balanced with their aspirations to secure cosmopolitan "town" life-styles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available