| || || Ali, Tasneem|
| || || The social and structural causes of ethnic Fijian poverty : study of the participants of the ILO'S WOP - Fiji programme|
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: Poverty -- Fiji -- Case studies , Poor -- Fiji -- Case studies , Fiji -- Economic conditions , Fiji -- Social conditions
Call No.: pac HC 685 .5 .A45 2012
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: “When discrimination and disadvantage result from the way in which people are trained, institutions operate, or laws are framed, the solution is to remove the injustice, not simply to offer temporary relief to those suffering from its effects”. (Barr, 1994:12) In a world where the gap between the rich and the poor has widened disproportionately, adequate solutions to the poverty ‘problem’ within the context of indigenous, tradition-based communities have often seemed evasive. Instead, researchers have resorted to measuring poverty in terms of economic determinants such as housing, education, health, employment and income. Social and structural barriers are less often considered in search for solutions. This thesis is primarily concerned with three issues: First, the social and structural barriers to the social and economic advancement of ethnic Fijians; secondly, how the ethnic Fijian poor view poverty, and finally, why previous Governments' efforts and affirmative action policies towards ethnic poverty reduction has failed to reap the results hoped for (see EUS 2004-2005, HIES 2002-2003, Narsey, 2007). The research adopts two levels of analysis: first, a literature review that looks at the traditional approaches to poverty reduction at the macro and micro level, and secondly, a qualitative field survey conducted by the author of participants in an ILO programme that examined selected "traditional" and other behaviours and attitudes. As the UN agencies are committed to poverty reduction as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it seemed appropriate for the survey to select people from the International Labour Organisation’s ‘Working out of Poverty’- Fiji programme in which the author had also been involved. The social constructionist and constructivist paradigms were used for analysis. The research finds a complex intertwinement of reality where poverty reduction actions continued to be overwhelmed with purely economic solutions to the neglect of the social and structural dimensions of poverty. This social and structural reality is camouflaged within traditional and religious structures, and entrenched as ‘norms’ and ‘values’. The unquestionable allegiance and adaptation to these elitist-controlled structures by the poor combined with the resultant trickle down effect of a colonial history seems to have transformed many aspects of ethnic Fijian values into tools of manipulation and control that have further perpetuated disparities and disadvantaged the poor among ethnic Fijians. The research concludes that the structural and social causes of poverty are significant within the lives of indigenous communities such as ethnic Fijians. In turn, these need to be critically evaluated towards informed interventions and realistic, country and community relevant, poverty solutions.