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Title: Towards an anthropology of coups in Fiji
Author: Kaur, Jastinder
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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Fiji is a multi-ethnic country in the South Pacific that is often described as having a 'culture of coups'. Coups in 1987, 2000 and 2006 entrenched the view that, along with elections, they are just another path to national leadership. Like most coups elsewhere, Fiji's coups are often seen as discrete political events, bound to the time-space of the state. This dissertation challenges such a view by placing coups in Fiji in historical and ethnographic context. Based on fieldwork conducted between 2002 and 2004, the material shows how (a) coups have historical referents that structure their purpose and meaning in both time and space, and how (b) coups enfold themselves as ongoing 'events' within social and political life. Coups in Fiji are also conventionally understood as products of ethnic (Fijian-Indian) politics. The ethnographic material muddies these waters by exploring instances of both 'peace within the feud' and memories of coupviolence that continue to haunt ethnic relations on the island. The increased resolution offered by ethnographic research brings seemingly incommensurable ideas and sentiments together, placing coups within a proper social landscape. The dissertation draws inspiration from comparative ethnographic material on Fiji. Theoretically, the text builds on distinct bodies of literature relating to critical events, peace, and conflict, in order to show how coups are deeply implicated in social life. In the process, I bring insights from political science into the terrain of social anthropology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral