Chiefs Today: Traditional Pacific Leadership & the Postcolonial State (Contemporary Issues in Asia & the Pacific Rim Series) / Edition 1

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Overview

This volume presents detailed analyses of the accommodations between chiefs and states in thirteen Pacific societies. In some states, traditional perquisites and political authority have overlapped so that the state is a contemporary form of chiefdom. Elsewhere, chiefs operate as a mechanism of local accommodation to centralized state authority, facilitating state operations in the local community. In still other states, local chiefs have risen up against central authority, leading their communities in opposition to the state and its depredations. In each case, the chief is a focus for cultural struggle in the border zones of local, national, and transnational politics. The renewed significance of chiefs, and the discussions and disagreements that surround them, are a vital part of debates about identity and power in the Pacific today. In some cases, these debates produce calls for the revitalization and reempowerment of chiefs; in others, they spark attempts to constrict or otherwise regulate their powers. In either instance, these controversies provide a window into social and political transformation in postcolonial states today. The Pacific societies treated are: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Rotuma, Solomon Islands, Tana Toraja (Indonesia), Tonga, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, and New Zealand.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Contributors
1 Introduction: Chiefs Today 1
2 The Persistence of Chiefly Authority in Western Samoa 19
3 Rank and Leadership in Tonga 49
4 The Kingly-Populist Divergence in Tongan and Western Samoan Chiefly Systems 71
5 The Reemergence of Maori Chiefs: "Devolution" as a Strategy to Maintain Tribal Authority 84
6 Chiefs, Politics, and the Power of Tradition in Contemporary Fiji 108
7 Ritual Status and Power Politics in Modern Rotuma 119
8 Traditional Leaders Today in the Federated States of Micronesia 150
9 A Micronesian Chamber of Chiefs? The 1990 Federated States of Micronesia Constitutional Convention 183
10 Irooj Ro Ad: Measures of Chiefly Ideology and Practice in the Marshall Islands 197
11 Chiefs in Vanuatu Today 211
12 The Discourse of Chiefs: Notes on a Melanesian Society 229
13 Tuesday's Chiefs Revisited 253
14 Constructing and Contesting Chiefly Authority in Contemporary Tana Toraja, Indonesia 264
15 Conclusions: Chiefs and States Today 276
Notes 291
Bibliography 311
Index 333
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