Contested sites, land claims and economic development in Poum, New Caledonia

Kowasch, Matthias and Batterbury, Simon and Neumann, Martin (2015) Contested sites, land claims and economic development in Poum, New Caledonia. Settler Colonial Studies, 5 (4). pp. 302-316. ISSN 2201-473X

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Property relations are often ambiguous in postcolonial settings. Property is only considered as such if socially legitimate institutions sanction it. In indigenous communities, access to natural resources is frequently multidimensional and overlapping, subject to conflict and negotiation in a ‘social arena’. Settler arrivals and new economic possibilities challenge these norms and extend the arena. The article analyses conflicts and negotiations in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia in the light of its unique settler history and economic activity, focussing on the little-studied remote northern district of Poum on the Caledonian main island Grande Terre. In this region the descendants of British fishermen intermarried with the majority Kanak clans. We illustrate the interaction between customary conflicts, European settlement, struggles for independence, and a desire for economic development. Customary claims are in tension with the attractions of economic growth and service delivery, which has been slow in coming to Poum for reasons largely outside the control of local people.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Settler Colonial Studies
Additional Information:
Later republished in a book This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Settler Colonial Studies on 13/07/2015, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? new caledoniaminingindigenous peoplesgeography, planning and development ??
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Deposited On:
06 Mar 2017 11:26
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 16:51