Karen A. Malone

Document Type

Book Chapter


The global community's image of Pacific Islands is often one of paradise - azure water, palm trees, and other tourist brochure cliches. In reality, Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face serious and unique challenges that render them vulnerable and fragile, comparable often to the world's poorest nations. Like many postcolonial peoples, the Pacific islanders find themselves both exploited and marginalised by a global system of mass consumption. Mass tourism, global warming, overfishing, resource degradation, pollution and loss of culture are only some of the long-term impacts of globalisation on these fragile islands. These are islands where governments need a "no room for error" management strategy and yet most have a very short history of 'westernised' self-governance and limited internal political capapcity to compete in a global economy. Life presents significant and unquie challenges particularly for many children living on fragile and isolated Pacific Islands. There is a tension between their seemingly idyllic lifestyle on the one hand and the hungry tourist grazier, globalisation and a lack of good governance on the other. Informed by the work of social theorists who are attempting to understand the modern identity and its relation to space and time, this paper attempts to move beyond more traditional anthropological views of culture and space as secular and fixed, to a new perspective. A position where "the modern self is inextricably tied to fluidity or movement across space and time" (Rapport and Dawson, 1998: 4).