Democracy and Respect for Difference: The Case of Fiji

Joseph H. Carens

in Culture, Citizenship, and Community

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297680
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598937 | DOI:
Democracy and Respect for Difference: The Case of Fiji

Show Summary Details


Discusses the case of Fiji where efforts to protect the cultural traditions of Fijians (the descendants of the indigenous population) have led to conflicts with Indo‐Fijians (the descendants of indentured workers from India), who constitute the largest other group of inhabitants of Fiji. The chapter defends the claims of Indo‐Fijians to equal citizenship in the name of democracy and criticizes efforts at political domination and exclusion that some have attempted to justify in the name of culture and history. At the same time, it defends some of the efforts to protect Fijian culture against the pressures of modern liberal institutions and values. In particular, it argues that the creation of a system of collective, inalienable land rights and the institutional reinforcement of deference to Fijian chiefs were methods of preserving Fijian culture that were compatible with a conception of justice as evenhandedness. The chapter takes up a number of questions about cultural authenticity and about the moral relevance of history.

Keywords: authenticity; citizenship; culture; democracy; Fiji; indigenous people; justice; land rights; liberalism

Chapter.  31275 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.