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Land, Custom and Practice in the South Pacific


Part of Cambridge Asia-Pacific Studies

R. Gerard Ward, Elizabeth Kingdon, Margaret Rodman, J. Tim O'Meara, Kerry James; Antony Hooper
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  • Date Published: January 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521030717

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About the Authors
  • Land tenure arrangements are intimately linked with the organization of society, the economy, political structures and geography. In the South Pacific Islands the majority of land is held by community groups under 'customary' or 'traditional' forms of tenure. This book argues that land formerly held in common is now often controlled and used exclusively by individuals or nuclear families - it is being privatized. Detailed case studies demonstrate these trends in Western Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji. Parallels are noted from Asia, Europe and Africa, where comparable forces of commercialization, individualization and socio-political change have brought comparable results. The denial of these trends by policy makers in the region reflects an interest in maintaining the image of traditionalism and its associated status and power. The divergence between rhetoric and reality creates dilemmas for many Pacific Islanders and their leaders.

    • The conclusions are based on intensive fieldwork by anthropologists and a geographer, bringing multi-disciplinary skills to bear
    • Frames the trend in land tenure in the Pacific Islands in an international context
    • Provides an authoritative study of actual trends and practices which may be hidden by accounts of legal or traditional systems
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521030717
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.463kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 27 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    1. Land use and tenure: some comparisons R. Gerard Ward and Elizabeth Kingdon
    2. Land tenure in the Pacific Islands R. Gerard Ward and Elizabeth Kingdon
    3. Breathing spaces: customary land tenure in Vanuatu Margaret Rodman
    4. From corporate to individual land tenure in Western Samoa J. Tim O'Meara
    5. Right and privilege in Tongan land tenure Kerry James
    6. Land, law and custom: diverging realities in Fiji R. Gerard Ward
    7. Beyond the breathing space Antony Hooper and R. Gerard Ward

  • Editors

    R. Gerard Ward, Australian National University, Canberra

    Elizabeth Kingdon, Australian National University, Canberra


    R. Gerard Ward, Elizabeth Kingdon, Margaret Rodman, J. Tim O'Meara, Kerry James; Antony Hooper

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