Research Interests: Coastal communities, modernity and resource regulation in Southeast Asia and the Pacific
Thesis title: This is our place: Fishing families and cosmopolitans on Negros Island, Philippines
Based on a case study from a peri-urban location in the Visayas, in the municipality of Sibulan on Negros Island, this dissertation argues that the significance of territoriality, co-residence, small-scale fishing and pioneer settler status as determinants of community and identity have for many coastal dwellers become more – not less – important in recent times. Localism as an orientation and commitment to place of residence has in fact grown under the pressures of cosmopolitanism.
The analysis of how localism and cosmopolitanism inter-relate brings out differences in the valuation and prestige of small-scale fishing, place-based forms of living, and the significance of the distinction between early settlers and newcomers. Growing cosmopolitan influence in the coastal zone, reflected in a booming ‘beachfront property' market and efforts to protect coral reefs by establishing Marine Protected Areas, encourages particular coastal dwellers to ground themselves to place by establishing pioneer settler status and by claiming “this is our place.” Incoming beach house owners with wealth establish themselves along the coastline and some of them cultivate relations with these pioneer settlers. While members of families with pioneer settler status are able to feed off and exploit cosmopolitanism to consolidate localism or to pursue ‘middle class' status oriented to the wider cosmopolitan society, coastal dwellers without such status face new hurdles. Those families without kinship links to the ‘original people of the place' are prevented from ‘becoming local' and increasingly marginalised from wider neighbourhood communities.
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy awarded on 23 April 2010.