Informal Session: Rethinking Labor and Work in the Global Pacific
Organizers: Mary K Good and 'Inoke Hafoka
As increasing numbers of people move between rural and urban areas in the Pacific Islands, from island to island within their nations, and from homeland to other areas for work, they not only adjust to new surroundings, but new responsibilities. Often, these movements and migrations are driven by growing needs for income. Community members might feel increasing pressure to juggle the demands of contributions to local projects and the desire to increase their economic and material wealth through formalized professional employment. The availability of new forms of work and the restructuring of time, space, and social relations they entail push against traditional configurations of rank. Long-held notions of status find themselves in tension with emergent forms of class.
This informal session will discuss the experiences and ideas surrounding work and labor in the Pacific. We will look at transformations and traditions in the types of work, physical spaces where people work, and the values and understandings attached to labor. We would welcome any contributions to the session from across the Pacific region, including the conflicts between traditional cooperatives and capitalist entrepreneurship; shifts in identities related to gender, age, kinship, and other social categories as work status changes; pressures and processes related to the introduction of multinational corporations and/or transnational aid programs; or the place of missions, faith-based aid work, and religious considerations of meaningful labor. The session aims to open a discussion of what “labor” means within social contexts of the Pacific and the relations that emerge within landscapes encompassing self-provisioning, capitalism, and everything in between and beyond.
Mary K Good, Wake Forest University, <email@example.com>;
'Inoke Hafoka, UCLA, <firstname.lastname@example.org>