Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.799306
Title: Land and belonging in an Indo-Fijian rural settlement
Author: Leonard, Patrick
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
This is an ethnographic study about land and belonging in an Indo-Fijian rural cane farming settlement in Fiji, where Indo-Fijians have lived and worked for generations, while recognising that the land belongs to indigenous Fijians. Indo-Fijians are mainly the descendants of Indian indentured labourers who were transported to Fiji from the Indian subcontinent between 1879 and 1916. The term "Indo-Fijian" carries the condition of landlessness in its history of use, from colonial times to the present, while "indigenous Fijian" is imbued with ideas of traditional ownership of land and a cultural identity deeply rooted in land that has been inscribed in colonial and post-colonial law and governance structures. In recent decades indigenous landowners have contested the rights of Indo-Fijian tenants to have continued access to land in farming settlements, and Indo-Fijian rights to participate as citizens in the nation have also been denied by a series of indigenous-led coups. I examine how Indo-Fijians endeavour to belong to land in a rural cane farming settlement in these circumstances and make the land theirs too. I examine how they conceive of their belonging by what they do with land and how they inscribe it - as family farms and houses, an origin in indenture, and a place for memorialising ancestors - and by how they endeavour to create good relations with indigenous landowners and indigenous gods, through giving gifts and making spiritual offerings. I consider how they belong to land that they can never possess, through their attempts to live together with indigenous Fijians as their landlords, and as the traditional owners of the settlement's land. In doing so, I address how land can play a role in developing understanding of the possibilities of Indo-Fijian belonging in contemporary Fiji, and consider what an analysis of Indo-Fijian belonging can contribute to broader understanding of both the perils and ambiguities of "belonging", as an historical and ethnographic phenomenon emerging in diverse societies where people are increasingly concerned with "who belongs?" and "how one can prove belonging?" (Geschiere, 2009). My analysis shows that how Indo-Fijians have come to belong to land and make land theirs in a rural settlement is how they come to belong to Fiji as Fijians.
Supervisor: Sykes, Karen ; Erasaari, Matti Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.799306  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Belonging ; Indo-Fijians ; Fiji ; Land
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