This paper examines what the author terms “compressed globalisation” in the South Pacific region, with a focus on the Solomon Islands. Building on long‐term ethnographic fieldwork in the biodiversity “hot‐spot” of Marovo Lagoon, the author addresses the complexity of a variety of local–global encounters during the 1990s, involving indigenous resource‐owning villagers, transnational logging and mining companies, and foreign conservationist initiatives by non‐governmental organisations (NGOs). Emphasis is given to the contested status of rainforests around the Marovo Lagoon. While Asian logging companies desire quick exploitation of large timber reserves, Western NGOs (and similar governmental agencies) desire the conservation of the forests in the name of global biodiversity. The villagers who own the forests through state‐backed customary law follow unpredictable paths between the diverging types of foreign (and global) desire, emphasising their own autonomy over conditions for contemporary village life. These postcolonial encounters are characterised by mutual uncertainty and unawareness about the moral and political agendas of the “other party”. However, lack of shared understanding far from inhibits actual collaboration, whether it be short‐term logging deals or NGO‐initiated “community‐based conservation projects”. In these projects, defined through indigenous concepts, diverging desires appear to converge, however unsteadily.
International Social Science Journal – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2003
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