Becoming Landowners: Entanglements of Custom and Modernity by Victoria C. Stead

By Victoria C. Stead

Across Melanesia, the ways that humans hook up with land are being reworked by means of tactics of modernization globalization, the development of states and countries, practices and imaginaries of improvement, the legacies of colonialism, and the complexities of postcolonial encounters. Melanesian peoples have gotten landowners, Stead argues, either within the experience that those methods of switch compel different types of estate kinfolk, and within the feel that landowner and customized landowner turn into identities to be wielded opposed to the encroachment of either nation and capital. In locations the place popular types of land tenure have lengthy been dominant, deeply intertwined with senses of self and relationships with others, land now turns into a crucible upon which social family, energy, and tradition are reconfigured and reimagined.

Employing a multi-sited ethnographic procedure, turning into Landowners explores those variations to land and lifestyles as they spread throughout Melanesian international locations. The chapters circulate among coasts and inland mountain levels, among city facilities and rural villages, telling the tales of individuals and locations who're continuously located and specific yet who additionally percentage strong commonalities of expertise. those contain a subsistence-based group formed via the legacies of colonialism and profession in distant Timor-Leste, villagers in Papua New Guinea resisting a mining operation and the govt. brokers helping it, an city East Timorese payment resisting eviction by way of the countryside its citizens was hoping could characterize them within the post-independence period, and other people and teams in either international locations who're suffering for, with, and occasionally opposed to the formal codification in their claims to land and position. In every one of those situations, regularly occurring and glossy different types of connection to land are propelled into complicated and dynamic configurations, theorized the following in an cutting edge means as entanglements of customized and modernity.

Moving among a number of websites, scales, and sorts of collectivity, changing into Landowners finds entanglements as areas of deep ambivalence. the following, buildings of energy are destabilized in ways in which can lend themselves to the diminishing of neighborhood autonomy within the face of the nation and capital. whilst, the destabilization of energy additionally creates new probabilities for the reassertion of that autonomy, and of the known different types of connection to land during which it really is grounded.


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How the debate is resolved impinges on what the ultimate lessons of Vietnam are to be for the future decision-makers. 24 If there is any plausibility to these and other theses about how America could have won, it becomes important to understand why the supposedly more efficacious prointervention options were not chosen. The all-or-nothing approach toward military intervention may be a lesson drawn by recent administrations from the failure of "gradualism" in Vietnam. A final reason for examining the choice of options is theoretical.

The most important analogies are identified by inspecting the public and the private record. Even a cursory examination of the analogies to Vietnam invoked by senior officials in public in the months prior to the July 1965 decision would have revealed that the Korean, the 1930s, the Greek, and the Malayan analogies were especially relevant. 1 summarizes the results of a more systematic count of the top ten analogies invoked by senior officials in l'ublic speeches and briefings from 1950 to 1966.

Substantive importance and continuing fascination, however, cannot be the only criteria for selecting a case study. For the student of political science, there should also be sound theoretical reasons for picking one's cases. Here, researchers often find Harry Eckstein's and Alexander George's essays about the theoretical promise of case studies instructive. 4 Critical cases are those in which one's arguments are either most likely or least likely to hold. If one's arguments fail to hold up in the most likely case, they must be very weak; conversely, if they hold up in the least likely case, they must be considered promising.

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