The Concept of Self and Success from an iTaukei Perspective in Fiji: Before and after Education and Development
AbstractModernity has ushered poverty, crime and unemployment which were near nonexistent in traditional lifestyles. Perception of basic things in life lies on notion of vanua epistemology which has been disrupted, redundant and has been referred to as the ‘other’ knowledge by colonizers (Nabobo- Baba, 2006). An iTaukei (indigenous) self-perspective is crucial to understand in order to comprehend the iTaukei perspective of these basic things in life. Education and development have deeply impacted local communities in the Fiji Islands located in the South-West Pacific.Modernity alters the discourse of self in iTaukei villages. Some communities that were once communal and relational now become individualised and rationalised. It is interesting to note that with the development of infrastructure such as roads and jetties, iTaukei communities tend to become more economically and progress driven and have failed to nurture their century old customs of acknowledging and reciprocating relations with others and their surroundings. This drive towards economic prosperity and progress have also brought about its own shortfalls such as failing welfare system where iTaukei communities have filled up the streets as beggars or end up in prisons. This paper discusses the thought processes of iTaukei individuals in a typical indigenous Fijian community responds to the modern tenacities of today. It further examines the dynamics of social or communal living from an individualized perspective that rationalizes the behavior of the society in general.
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