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Unit 4. Sociology in Context: "islandness",  the uniqueness of the Caribbean and Aruba

Unit 4. Sociology in Context: "islandness", the uniqueness of the Caribbean and Aruba



Unit 4. Sociology in Context: "islandness", the uniqueness of the caribbean and Aruba

Unit 4. Sociology in Context: "islandness", the uniqueness of the caribbean and Aruba



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  • http://www.sidewaysnews.com/environment-nature/danish-isle-energy-self-sufficienthttp://www.energiakademiet.dk/default_uk.asp
  • http://www.nosaruba2025.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=60&lang=en
  • Nissology. Greek word for islands

Unit 4. Sociology in Context: "islandness",  the uniqueness of the Caribbean and Aruba Unit 4. Sociology in Context: "islandness", the uniqueness of the Caribbean and Aruba Presentation Transcript

  • Objectives of unit 4
    To contextualize Sociology by:
    Introducing the concepts of islands, islandness and island studies
    Introducing the Caribbean as region of focus
    Introducing the changing patterns of Aruban society during time
    Attempting to understand the impact geography and history have on social, economical and cultural development
    Introducing two sociological theoretical perspectives relevant to the understanding of our specific context: ‘global’ and ‘post-colonial’ perspective
  • The Island Myth
  • Islands have been the inspiration for fictions, arts and the imagination
    Often portrayed as exotic and mysterious
  • ‘Islandness’
    “(...) the island is the first unit that the mind can pick out and begin to comprehend” (McArtur and Wilson, 1967)
    “The island becomes an attractive location, or itself the instigator, for attitudes which sweep from total, God-like control to an equally total submission to Nature; and for processes ranging from reinvigorating therapy to dark obscenity”
    The island is a mystery, it’s unique in its sort
    Known terms as “island fever”, “island mentality” have been (are still) in use to describe what it means to live on an island:
  • The setting, some interesting facts:(Baldacchino, 2006)
    There are 550 million people living on islands: around 10% of the world’s total population.
    Islands (Australia and Antarctica (=continents) are excluded, this decision is contestable) occupy just 1.86% of the Earth’s surface area, but 13,1% (106 out of 812) of UNESCO’s World heritage Sites are on islands or else are islands in total
    No fewer than 43 (22%) of the world’s sovereign states are exclusively island states. And many states have one or more island regions or sub-national jurisdictions (CIA, 2005)
    Innovative forms of sovereignty tend to involve islands, especially small islands. E.g. Aruba (Status Aparte),Aland, the Isle of Man, Mayotte, Puerto Rico and dozens of other island territories have struck unique status arrangements with much larger national or supra-national bodies.
  • Island as tabulae rasae
  • Islands as tabulae rasae
    Islands are potential laboratories for any conceivable project in thought or action:
    They have a natural geographical outlined (explicitly defined) boundary
    They float in the sea, sometimes with neighboring islands, other times in relationship with the mainland(s)
    They are innovative conceptualizations 
    They have innovative forms of sovereignty 
    Their ‘one of a kind’ uniqueness as an island as their main characteristic carries an inherently paradox 
  • Islands as innovative conceptualizations 
    Islands are pioneers. Either making the strange familiar (breaking out of the mould) or making the familiar strange (such as finding your own soul)
    Whether of nature or human enterprise, whether virtual or real
    Kofi Annan, (former UN secretary-general) states this in the following words: “Islands are the frontline zones where many of the main problems of environment and development are unfolding.”
    And so the solutions:
    e.g. Danish island that is fully self-sufficient in energy supplies
    e.g. Nos Aruba 2025, a national strategic participative process striving for the sustainability of the future development of Aruba
  • E.g. Islands as innovative conceptualizations: Samso
    E.g. Danish island Samso is 'energy self-sufficient‘
  • E.g. Islands as innovative conceptualizations: Nos Aruba 2025
  • “Unique island” character: Paradox! 
    Paradox between:
    Small insular* specificity (close):
    reachable under the microscope
    small islands are somehow closed systems, making it amenable to study
    making it amenable to test and explore ideas and theories: “rehearsals for reality”
    Small  insular  periphirality** (open to other influences):
    being on the edge, being out of sight and so out of mind
    Situations which both exposes and foment the weakness if mainstream ideas
  • * insular refers to isolation
    ** periphery is a boundary or outer part of any space or object,
    periphery implies here: being at the boundary, but in connection to other parts
  • Nissology:The “what” and “why” of Island studies (Baldacchino, 2006) :
    Islands -small-islands in particular- are distinct enough spaces or harbour extreme enough renditions of more general processes, to deserve their continued respect as subjects/objects of academic focus and inquiry. Islands are somewhat manageable for study (somewhat closed systems)
    It is a unique psychological, social, cultural, political, and environmental experience/phenomena to study
  • The “what” and “why” of Island studies (Baldacchino, 2006): Nissology
    The emerging consensus is that island studies should not necessarily be seen as a discipline/or discipline-in the waiting, it doesn’t need to have a distinctive methodology
    It is primarily an inter-, or even trans-, disciplinary focus of critical inquiry and scholarship
    Islandness is an intervening variable that does not determine, but contours and conditions physical and social events in distinct, and distinctly relevant ways.
  • University of Aruba’s own expertise in island studies and sustainability:
    Institutional Capabilities for Small Island Innovation
    Prof. dr. Ryan Peterson
  • Poem by Derek Walcott (the Schooner Flight, 1979)
    “Open the map. More islands there, man,
    Than peas on a tin plate, all different size,
    One thousand in the Bahamas alone…
    There are so many islands!
    As many islands as the stars in the Night”
  • The uniqueness of the Caribbean
    History (colonization past, slavery, Amerindians, bonds with Europe and U.S)
    Languages (different: Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Creole)
    Culture, fusion of cultures
    Most islands are in development (social, economic, democratic wave)
    Small states
  • Zooming on the island of Aruba
  • Aruba’s societal development
  • Lensky’s types of societies
  • Prehistoric Aruba
    Pre-ceramic Amerindians
    Between 2500 bc and 950 ad
    They are called pre-ceramic because they did not yet invent pottery
    A society of nomadic hunter gathers
    They lived in family groups of about 15 people
    Ceramic Amerindians
    Archaeologist call them Dabajuroi, the Caquetio are probably their descendants
    They belong to the Arawak language family
    Sedentary semi-agrarian society: they planted corn but still hunted and gathered
    The Dabajuroi had long-distance trading
  • Dabajuroi area
  • The Dabajuroi are believed to have had a complex society:
    The Dabajuroi are believed to have had a complex society. We think that because the Dabajuroi had complex burial rites:
    One way of burying was to bury the dead and after a few months dig up the bones and bury them again in an urn
    This type of burial still exists with the Wayuu (or Guajiro) who live in north-east and north-west Venezuela
    Dabajuroi pottery
    Aruban woman grinding corn
  • Spanish Period (1499-1636)
    The Spanish came to Aruba in 1499
    The Spanish found the ABC islands useless (‘Islas Inútiles’) for mining and agrarian ends.
    They enslaved the Amerindians and deported them (Spanish conquistadores who caught Amerindian slaves where called indieros)
    After a while some Amerindians (possibly the same) where brought back by Juan de Ampués who used Aruba as a Rancho
    Later on the Spanish emperor sold the rights of the region to a German banking firm, which was allegedly even more cruel than the Spanish
    Even thought the Spanish conquered Aruba, the Amerindians of Aruba kept in contact with those of the mainland (South America)
    The Spanish converted the Amerindians to Catholicism
  • West Indian Company (WIC)
    In 1636 the Dutch West India Company conquered Aruba
    The W.I.C. was a combination of a modern trading company and a state war machine
    The W.I.C. also saw Aruba as a useless island
    But they also saw it as their private property, so they prohibited colonization
    The W.I.C. also prohibited the enslaving of Amerindians
     This made Aruba effectively an Amerindian reservation until 1750
    The first non Amerindian settler (apart from the W.I.C. personal and their slaves) was MozesMaduro.
  • The Dutch Kingdom
    After the W.I.C. went bankrupt there were some turbulent years  
    In 1815 Aruba came under the authority of the Dutch king William I
    In the nineteenth century there where three main social groups on Aruba:
    the more European merchants, this group was the political and economical elite
    the more Amerindian fishermen and farmers and
    the African slaves
    In the nineteenth century Aruba was poor, the population was between 3000 and 10.000 people.
    Even though gold and phosphor where found Aruba predominantly remained an agricultural society
  • King William the First
  • Lago (American corporation)
    The Lago meant an economic boom and a spectacular growth of the population
    Aruba changed from an agrarian society to a industrial society
    In that time, Lago had more to say about Aruba than Aruban authorities
  • population growth
  • Tourism and Status Aparte
    When the oil business started to go downhill Aruba began investing in Tourism.
    This meant another rise in population:
    Aruba changed from an primarily industrial society to a service society
    Economic prosperity led to the wish for independence:
    Status Aparte
  • Service economy: selling the product Aruba
  • o
  • Lensky’s types of societies
    ‘Status Aparte’ and Tourism industry
    ArendPetroliumMaatschappij, after that Lago (‘20)
    Aruba part of the Dutch Kingdom, Some plantations (e.g. Aloe) (Mozes Maduro)
    Ceramic Indians (Spanish Period and most of the WIC period)
    Pre-ceramic Indians
  • 3 main themes in Aruban History (Dresscher, 2009)
    The strong historical bonds between Aruba and the Mainland (Venezuela/Latin America)
     Multiculturalism as an integral part of the Aruban character and identity (plural identities)
    The big influence of Multinationals on Aruba's history:
    • the Welser banking house, the W.I.C. , the Lago
  • Assignment: Aruba and Social changes
    Relate Aruba’s societal development to the 4 prominent changes that took place during the rise of modernity:
    New industrial economy, the growth of modern capitalism
    The growth of cities
    Political change: control vs. democracy
    The loss of ‘gemeinschaft’ i.e. community binding elements in society
  • Assignment: Aruba and Social Changes
    Reflect on Aruba’s development during time: how it changed from a typical hunter & gather community into an island dependent of Tourism industry.
    What challenges does Aruba face at this moment?
    Can we say that Aruba developed from an industrial society to a post-industrial society? Why?
  • 53
    Post-Colonialism as a perspective
  • Key concepts (will be discussed in the second part of the module)
    Related to colonialism and to the concepts of Development and underdevelopment
    Also related concepts/theories:
    Dependency theory
    World system theory
    We will explore these concepts when focusing on “Development”
  • 55
    Global perspective in Sociology
  • Global perspective
    The study of the larger world and each society’s place in it
    Importance of interrelations
    Importance of contexts
    We will continue with this theme unit 9!