Journal Article

A tale of three constitutions: Ethnicity and politics in Fiji

Yash Ghai and Jill Cottrell

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 5, issue 4, pages 639-669
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI:
A tale of three constitutions: Ethnicity and politics in Fiji

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
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There have been sharp divisions of opinion throughout Fiji's modern history between those advocating an integrated, nonracial state, based on individual rights, and those in favor of a political order based on ethnic communities. Integration and consociation, perhaps, are not apt terms to categorize this division, but, certainly, they have some resonance. Many features associated with consociation have been present in the colonial and the postcolonial constitutions, such as separate communal representation, group rights, asymmetrical autonomy, power sharing, separate educational systems, and entrenchment of rights to culture and land. Norms regarding indigenous peoples’ rights have been invoked, as well, adding an extra twist to the integration-consociation polarity. But there have also been strong tendencies toward political integration and broad-based, nonethnic social justice policies. Fiji's experience shows that this polarity has limited intellectual or policy value. Consociation easily and, in Fiji's case, seamlessly slides into hegemony.

Journal Article.  13540 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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