USP Theses Collection


close this section of the library Tagi, Epeli Josateki.

View the PDF document Fijian identity : a study of the prospects and problems of maintaining Fijian identity in a multiracial society
Author:Tagi, Epeli Josateki.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.Phil.
Subject: Ethnicity--Fiji, Fijians--Social life and customs, Fiji--Social life and customs, Fiji--Social conditions--20th century
Date: 1991.
Call No.: pac GN 671 .F5 T2
BRN: 701042
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This thesis focuses on some of the Fijian identities valued during the precontact period, and those that have emerged during the colonial era and the present. It also looks at the changes that have occurred which are greatly influenced by the introduction of new technology, education, economy, social and cultural values, political and religious systems into our multiracial society. Precontact Fijian identities generally regarded by the present generation as primitive, did not survive the influences of Europeans and Christianity in the early 1800s. In their place new forms of identity emerged. The Fijian communal system then became more established and organised and gained prominence as a way of life in villages. The chiefly system of leadership was strengthened and utilised as a means of administering and controlling Fijians. During the British colonial rule from until independance in 1970, Fijians were also controlled by the laws of the central government under which other ethnic groups were governed. Fijians began to be involved in two worlds, the world of communalism which believed and practised the principle of sharing or "others first and self after", and the world of individualism which emphasised the principle of accumulation or "self first and others after". In 1968 the Fijian regulations which controlled Fijians were abolished and Fijians were generally freed from its requirements. Although Fijians were treated equally with other ethnic groups in Fiji, in so far as the law of the Central Government was concerned, the Fijians could not immediately become individualistic and independent for they still lived in villages and maintained their communal life style and its traditions. The years after 1968 constituted transformation, and adaptation to a politically democratic life for some Fijians, but to others it was a period of confusion, frustration and regret. Those Fijians who were able to transform their life easily adapting to modernisation had generally developed new transformed identities which they valued. By 1982, however, efforts were made by some prominent Fijians and the Great Council of Chiefs to reintroduce some form of control among Fijian villagers, A subsequent survey and recommendations by Cole and his team lent support to Fijian leaders and authority to revitalise the Fijian administration as a means of resolving Fijian administrative problems arising from frustration and confusion as a result of being suddenly left loose. The recommendations were approved by the Great Council of Chiefs and implemented in 1984. However, it has not been fully implemented up till the time of writing in late 1990. For this reason I have chosen the theme "The Prospects and Problems of Main taining Fijian Identities in a Multiracial Society", for this study. During my research I managed to identify the nature and trends of Fijian identities and discussed whether it was possible or not to maintain them. At the same time I made suggestions as to the possible Fijian identities for the future.
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