USP Theses Collection


close this section of the library Affirmative action programs -- Political aspects -- Fiji

View the PDF document Ethnic politics, communalism and affirmative action in Fiji : a critical and comparative study
Author: Ratuva, Steven.
Institution: University of Sussex
Award: Ph.D.
Subject: Communalism -- Fiji , Affirmative action programs -- Political aspects -- Fiji , Fijians -- Government policy , Fiji -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects , Fiji -- Politics and government
Date: 1999.
Call No.: Pac HN 938 .Z9 S6 1999
BRN: 986355
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: The thesis examines the ways in which politics and communalism have shaped affirmative action policies in Fiji, and makes a comparative analysis with Malaysia (covered in less detail than Fiji). The study draws on Gramsci's theory of hegemony to explain the process of imposition of dominant ethnic values. In the context of these two theoretical positions, affirmative action is analysed in relation to how it has been shaped by communal hegemony and domination. In the case of Fiji, ethnic politics and communal mobilisation have largely interfered with the way affirmative action has been articulated. In the first place, the need for affirmative action has been due to the retarded socio-economic conditions created by communalism. But the implementation of affirmative action policies meant to promote socio-economic progress has been inhibited by communalism itself. Thus in the final analysis, affirmative action policies have consolidated communal mobilisation more than developing entrepreneurship. While affirmative action in Fiji was originally meant to bring about ethnic parity and national integration, it has also been deployed as a means of ethnic domination at the national level and communal hegemony within the indigenous Fijian community. The comparison with Malaysia is pertinent since historically, Fiji has borrowed its models of post-independence political consociationalism and affirmative actions from the latter. The thesis attempts to gauge how the same political and economic model has worked in different socio-cultural and economic contexts. Both Fiji and Malaysia are multi-ethnic societies, with a history of ethnic conflict and violence, and affirmative action has been a means by which the problem of communal conflict and national integration have been addressed, yet there have been crucial differences because affirmative action in Malaysia combined with economic progress while in Fiji, this was not the case. The two countries are also similar in that behind the official goals of affirmative action the hegemony of the dominant ethnic group has been defended and intra-ethnic inequalities have been reinforced.
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