Co-constituting Fijian identity
The role of constitutions in Fijian national identity
in The politics of identity
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This chapter focuses on the role that constitutions play in national identity, particularly in states that are recently independent and constrained by a colonial legacy. It uses Fiji as a case study, exploring how British colonialism influenced conceptions of Fijian national identity in the constitutional texts of 1970, 1990 and 1997. The chapter explores the indigenous ethno-nationalist ideals that underpinned these constitutions, which led to the privileging of indigenous Fijian identity within the wider national identity. However, in 2013, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama introduced a new constitution which shifted away from previous ethno-nationalist underpinnings towards a more inclusive national identity through the promotion of a civic nationalist agenda. In doing so, Bainimarama’s goal of reducing ethnic conflict has seen a constitutional re-imagining of Fijian identity, which includes the introduction of new national symbols, and a new electoral system, alongside equal citizenry clauses within the Constitution. This study offers a unique insight into power and identity within post-colonial island states.

The politics of identity

Place, space and discourse

Editors: Christine Agius and Dean Keep


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