Modernization and what is called “development” nearly always entails a clash in the worldview and values of Pacific Islanders and Westerners. This clash is not just an anthropological curiosity, something that can be shrugged off as interesting but unessential, but it touches those critical areas in which island society is encouraged to modernize—to get with the program.
In this presentation Father Hezel considers four general areas in which this clash touches on key elements of modernization, including economic development and good governance:
· Economic Development (Land)
· Family Finances (Savings)
· What’s Fair (Equity and Equality)
· Seeking and Speaking the Truth (Information)
Father Fran Hezel, whose seminal books include The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures, has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963—first at Chuuk’s influential Xavier High School and then as founder and Director of the church–sponsored research institution the Micronesian Seminar (MicSem) in Pohnpei. Fr. Hezel serves the Catholic Church in Guam and continues to write profusely and blogs about regional issues on a regular basis (wheresfran.org/). His latest book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, was published by the University of Hawai‘i Press earlier this year.