Do communitarian values justify Papua New Guinean and/or Fijian systems of land tenure?

Agriculture and Human Values 14 (2):115-126 (1997)

Communitarians have alleged a connection between according specialrights to community groupings and preserving the indigenous cultureand the social cohesion of the original community. This paperconcentrates upon special group rights associated with land tenurenow maintained by Fijian Mataqali and traditional land owninggroups in Papua New Guinea. The first section of the paper assessesand compares the social consequences of each of these systems withspecial attention to the preservation of traditional culture.However, in the case of Fiji, it is undeniable that the mataqaliland tenure system has given indigenous Fijians politicaladvantages over non-indigenous Fijians, most specifically theFijian Indians. Though special land rights can possibly bejustified on the grounds of cultural preservation, their existencedoes raise this further issue of fairness. Moral considerations basedupon the territorial sovereignty of indigenous nations, rather thancommunitarian arguments, may offer a more convincing justificationof the advantages of indigenous Fijians
Keywords Indigenous culture  Land tenure  Special group rights
Categories No categories specified
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1007364328242
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