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ERIC Number: EJ768608
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 39
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Moving Up the Ranks: Chiefly Status, Prestige, and Schooling in Colonial Fiji
White, Carmen M.
History of Education Quarterly, v46 n4 p532-570 Win 2006
This article provides a conflict analysis of colonial schooling in Fiji, tracing how imported schooling was incorporated into indigenous structures of status differentiation. It begins with a discussion of the chieftaincy system as the socio-political institution in place in this South Pacific archipelago when European explorers and missionaries arrived, and describes the subsequent incorporation of practices and things European into the local status structure. The article outlines how tripartite factors of active lobbying for selective formal education by chiefs, colonial administrative support for this elite education, and, finally, an extant mission school system on the ground serving Fijian commoners laid the foundation for a dual educational system for indigenous Fijians with a double set of standards--one for commoners, and one for the nobility. This article also describes how such schooling contributed to the perpetuation of chiefly leadership itself. As this article will show, ultimately, it was the congruent educational interests and priorities of the local colonial government and high-ranking Fijian chiefs that would position schools as institutions that would perpetuate the traditional status, but modern roles, of chiefs in Fiji society. More generally, this article demonstrates that the incorporation of foreign practices and institutions into rank systems, particularly when these alien institutions are appropriated by the local elite as symbolic resources. Yet, it is the very novelty or lack of precedence of such symbolic resources that also renders them more potentially the site of the type of contested claims that lead the local elite to engineer exclusive access to maintain the status structure. (Contains 125 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Fiji