Over the Reef
Over the Reef
Dance in a Time of Transition
This chapter explores what the diaspora means for those residing in the islands. In doing so, it builds on Epeli Hauʻofa's insights that relationships across the Pacific diaspora are more complex than suggested by orthodox economic models, which characterize Islander economies as being based on the one-way flow of goods and money from abroad to home. This formulation neglects the importance of reciprocity and interdependence in exchange relations across the diaspora. What Islanders at home may lack in money, they make up for by the maintenance of homelands and through gifts of locally produced food, goods, and expressive forms. Furthermore, the connection between expressive forms, affect, and economics is highly significant to the Cook Islands diaspora. This nexus points to an alternative economic system in which global economic imperatives are embedded within local forms of social exchange, of which affect and expressive forms are integral components.
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