Twenty years of change in the Fijian periphery: The case of the Kadavu Island

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This paper reviews changes in the development and peripheralized status of the Fijian island of Kadavu from a 20-year perspective. A combination of microgeographic studies in three villages and a mesogeographical analysis show that the conditions of internal dependency found in Kadavu in the early 1980s had not changed much: the pattern of cash crop production and trade remained almost entirely dependent on the yaqona (Pacific kava) beverage crop; shipping services provided by core agents had not improved; the island had experienced significant outmigration; and government initiatives to change the trend were limited. These elements perpetuate a core–periphery structure in Fiji that hampers the development of a self-sufficient periphery. For Kadavu villagers, however, the benefits derived from the continued form of non-capitalist production afford them a certain degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the market economy, which might be to their advantage under the ongoing conditions of peripheralization.

Keywords: Fiji; Kadavu; core–periphery structure; dependency; village mode of production

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2009

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