Richard (Rick) Feinberg, Department of Anthropology
Richard (Rick) Feinberg, Department of Anthropology, authored, “The Future of a Polynesian Chiefdom in a Globalising World” in Change and Continuity in the Pacific: Revisiting the Region, 1st ed., (London and New York: Routledge) John Connell and Helen Lee (Eds.), (2018), 136-150.
Author’s summary: Anuta is a Polynesian outpost in the southeastern Solomon Islands. For more than 15 generations, its people have been ruled by hereditary chiefs, and that system of chiefly authority has been a central feature of Anutan cultural identity. Today, the chieftainship remains a lynchpin of the islanders’ understanding of themselves and their place in the world. But chiefly rule is under threat, both by outside forces and the vagaries of local demographics. In this chapter, I explore the challenge to Anuta’s chiefly system and the islanders’ response. Central to that response are internal debates about the future of the chiefly line after the present ruler departs the scene.
From the publisher's website: The contributors to this book have all conducted long-term research in the islands of the Pacific. During their visits and revisits, they have witnessed firsthand the many changes that have occurred in their field sites as well as observing elements of continuity. They bring to their accounts a sense of their surprise at some of the unexpected elements of stability and of transformation. The authors take a range of disciplinary approaches, particularly geography and anthropology, and their contributions reflect their deep knowledge of Pacific places, some first visited more than 40 years ago. Many of the chapters focus on aspects of socioeconomic change and continuity, while others focus on specific issues such as the impact of both internal and international migration, political and cultural change, technological innovation and the experiences of children and youth. By focusing on both change and continuity, this collection of 11 case studies shows the complex relationships between Pacific societies and processes of ‘modernity’ and globalization. By using a long-term lens on particular places, the authors are able to draw out the subtleties of change and its impacts while also paying attention to what, in the contemporary Pacific, has been left remarkably unchanged.