Islands And Micronationality: An Introduction
Keywords: Micronations, micronationality, islands, seasteading
Abstract: Since the 1970s the term ‘micronation’ has been applied to small territories that have been declared as independent but are largely unrecognised as such. Although micronational status has been claimed for various types of location, islands have been particularly prominent as the bases for such endeavours. This essay serves to provide a brief pre-history of island micronations; to characterise the attributes and circumstances of notable micronations; to identify conceptual frameworks pertinent to their promotion; to introduce the case study articles on the topic presented in this theme issue of Shima; and to provide a bibliography of relevant previously published analyses of island micronationality.
Sark And Brecqhou: Space, Politics and Power
Keywords: Brecqhou, politics, power, Sark, space
Abstract: Sark is a British Crown Dependency that could be described as a type of micronation. It has been a fief of the Crown since the 16th century, and in the 21st Century instituted a form of democratic government. While not part of the UK, nor a sovereign state in its own right, Sark is a self-governing territory within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and has substantial political autonomy, with its own legislature and judicial system. Sark’s political context comprises a binary existence as a jurisdiction spanning two populated islands: Sark and Brecqhou. This inter-island setting is complicated by Brecqhou having a special relationship with some privileges within the Fief of Sark, and offers a further level of quasi-micronationalism. This article discusses the history of Sark’s and Brecqhou’s inter- island relations. In the context of examining this island binary and the background to the contested ownership of Brecqhou and challenges to Sark’s political system, emphasis is placed on reframing the islands’ intertwined history and locality in connection with notions of space, politics and power. There have been various disputes over Sark and Brecqhou for many centuries, and in recent years the current owners of Brecqhou have argued that the island does not fall under Sark’s jurisdiction. This article shows that Sark exists in several ways within different island groupings and political relationships, and argues that closer analysis of this island context contributes both a case study of inter- island relations to Island Studies, and more broadly to re-thinking the political geography of islands in the context of spatial and power relationships.
- Captain Calamity’s Sovereign State Of Forvik: Micronations and the Failure of Cultural Nationalism
Keywords: Micronations, Forvik, cultural nationalism, Shetland, independence movements
Abstract: Micronations are often viewed as humorous phenomena, but, when linked to serious political movements, they have the potential to exert real political influence. In 2008, Stuart Hill (known as Captain Calamity) founded the micronation of Forvik on a small island in the archipelago of Shetland (Scotland, UK). Arguing that Shetland had never become part of the Scottish state, Hill sought to use Forvik as the springboard for a Shetland-wide self-determination movement. Although Hill’s rationale was primarily economic, Shetland possessed a strong pre-existing sense of cultural distinctiveness and tendencies toward cultural nationalism, which came to be popularly associated with Hill’s project. The Forvik micronation, however, received virtually no popular support, and, since its founding, Hill has struggled to make his argument heard through an amused global media and a hostile court system. Ultimately, this micronation has been detrimental to the development of a genuine Shetland self-determination movement and has weakened Shetland’s culturally rooted resistance to wider Scottish nationalism. This study illustrates how, far from bolstering associated nationalist movements, some micronations may lower them into ridicule and defeat.
- Contested Space: National and Micronational Claims to the Spratly/Truong Sa Islands - A Vietnamese Perspective
Keywords: Truong Sa, Spratly Islands, Bien Dong, South China Sea, Vietnam, micronations
Abstract: The archipelago located in the eastern Pacific Ocean around 4-11 degrees North and 109-117 degrees East, known in English language as the Spratly Islands, in Vietnamese as the Truong Sa Islands and in Chinese as the Nansha Islands, has been subject to contesting claims that have intensified in recent decades with the growing perception that the area has substantial sub-surface oil and/or mineral deposits that could prove a lucrative asset to whichever country can establish a definitive claim over and related exploitation of them. Following an account of Vietnam’s historical presence in the area, the article discusses some of the more fanciful micronational claims that have been made over the region and Vietnamese efforts to consolidate their claim to sovereignty in the face of contesting claims from other regional powers. [Editorial Note – Shima invites submissions offering other perspectives on disputed island and marine sovereignty issues in the South East Asia Pacific region.]
- Queer Sovereignty: The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands
Keywords: Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, micronation
Abstract: The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom (G&LK) seceded from Australia in 2004. Emperor Dale Parker Anderson declared independence upon raising the rainbow pride flag on Cato Island in the Coral Sea Island. The decision to secede was made as a response to the Australian government’s 2004 action in presenting the Amendment of the Marriage Act 1969. In giving my account I draw on a 2007 interview, correspondence with Emperor Dale and other ethnographic material concerning the G&LK. Among other articulations, I consider its secessionist move in light of Linda Bishai’s critique in Forgetting Ourselves (2004). This is that for all its liberationist motivation, secession is essentialist in its conception, and inherently anti-democratic; her prediction is that its preoccupation with state formation is making it irrelevant in the age of ‘rhizomatic’ community networks. In its micronationalist ‘queering’, however, I find secessionist politics more relevant in late modernity, not less, as the pluralising democratic politics of identity and representation are increasingly unable to contest key outcomes of ‘family values’ and ‘national values’ rhetoric in the 21st Century. [Editorial Note – This is a revised version of an essay that was originally published in the journal Cosmopolitan Civil Societies in September 2009]
- “This Mere Speck in the Surface of the Waters”: Rockall aka Waveland
Keywords: Rockall, Waveland, Greenpeace, UNCLOS
Abstract: Rockall is a tiny granite knoll isolated in the stormy waters of the North Atlantic. It is not habitable and has of itself no economic value. However, given its location it has been a prize insofar as at one time it was thought its possession could bring control of an exclusive economic zone. Iceland, Ireland and Denmark laid claim in addition to the UK, which had annexed Rockall in 1955, the last territory to be taken into the British Empire. In 1972 Rockall was declared to be part of Scotland. However the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (1982) now precludes rocks incapable of supporting life to be awarded economic zones. Interest in Rockall then reverted to symbolism especially in its occupation by Greenpeace in 1997 when the global state of Waveland was declared from Rockall’s summit, with Rockall itself as the capital. Greenpeace stayed on Rockall longer than anybody else and a claim has been established to it thereby, but Waveland itself collapsed with the failure of the company that serviced its online presence.
- North Dumpling Island: Micronationality, the Media and the American Dream
Keywords: North Dumpling Island, Dean Kamen, micronationality
Abstract: North Dumpling Island is a 3-acre stretch of land off the Atlantic Coast of the United States. The island has had five known owners since 1639, the most recent of whom is famed inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen. In 1986, Kamen launched a humorous campaign for the island’s secession in response to the State of New York’s denial of permission to build a wind turbine tower on his residentially zoned island property. The following article traces highlights of the media’s response to that campaign and discusses how Kamen has leveraged media publicity around his claims for micronationality to draw attention to his scientific and environmental initiatives, including a micronational model for sustainable energy consumption.
- In a Stew: Lamb Island’s flirtation with micronationality and the related consideration of a local representative body for the Southern Moreton Bay Islands
Keywords: Lamb Island, micronation, South Moreton Bay, Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI), Queensland
Abstract: This research note profiles the background to the short-lived secessionist impulse on Lamb Island in Southern Moreton Bay, Queensland (Australia) in 2013, the role that the media played in disseminating news about the initiative, the manner in which it was represented and its local significance. Further to this, the note outlines the manner in which discussions concerning the viability of an independent council for the four inhabited Southern Moreton Bay Islands (Lamb, Karragarra. Macleay and Russell) relate to the impetus for Lamb Island’s flirtation with micronationality.
- Shards of the Shattered Japanese Empire That Found Themselves as Temporary Micronations
Keywords: Micronations, Japan, Bonin/Ogasawara, Izu islands
Abstract: In this short research note, I present a couple of instances in the 20th Century when some Japanese islands temporarily became tiny independent political entities not because of a conscious push to make them so, but because the islands went overlooked in the midst of international political maneuvering. In a manner of speaking, the islands were small and insignificant (and, being islands, not part of mainland Japan) isolated enough that when world leaders drew broad sets of lines on a map, it was easy to overlook the fact these islands had fallen through the cracks.
- About The Authors
- Aquapelago Debates (part 4):
Skimming the Surface: Dislocated Cruise Liners and Aquatic Spaces
Keywords: Cruise ships, floating, aquatic spaces, aquapelago
Abstract: Modern, highly facilitated and luxurious cruise ships provide a highly particular type of environment and a very particular placement within oceanic and harbour spaces. In these regards they may be understood as floating entities effectively removed from their locales or, rather, as removed as they can be, barring issues of technological failure, accident and/or intrusion of extreme weather or geo-physical phenomena. Conceptualised as ‘floating pleasure palaces’, they are less like islands (with their complex gradations of connection to and social engagement with aquatic and sub- surface topographic space) and (increasingly) more like hovercraft that skim across aquatic surfaces. Indeed, in many recent examples, the access to and connection with the marine space that provides the medium for and rationale of ‘the cruise’ is marginalised. This essay begins to theorise the rationale implicit in such disconnections.
- Special Issue on The Canary Islands:
Introduction: Special Issue on the Canary Islands
- Feeding Two Million Tourists and Ten Million Residents: Food (in)sufficiency in the Canary Islands
Keywords: Islandness, food sufficiency, vulnerability, Canary Islands
Abstract: The level of food self-sufficiency in the Canaries is low and decreasing. The growing demand for food, both due to demographic and touristic expansion and to the population’s increased purchasing power, has not seen a corresponding increase in local food production. This paper details the factors behind the growing dependence on imported food, emphasising the role of insularity and the institutional framework of food production activity. Based on this diagnosis, the main courses of action are identified that could allow for the selective recovery of that portion of the local production that is intended for the internal market.
- Young African Migrants Reinventing Their Lives in the Canary Islands
Keywords: Unaccompanied minors, immigrants, young Africans, personal goals, emotional experience, integration, transition to adult life
Abstract: The intensification of irregular African immigration in the Canary Islands resulted in the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied foreign minors (MENA in Spanish: Menores Extranjeros No Acompañados), reaching a peak of maximum intensity in 2006 during the so-called ‘cayuco crisis’. This population of immigrants under the age of 18 is under the tutelage of the government of the Canary Islands and is placed in specific reception centres for foreign minors (CAME in Spanish: Centro de Acogida para Menores Extranjeros). This paper presents the methodology and main results of a research project, implemented by the author for the Observatory of Immigration in Tenerife (OBITen), on what these young Africans experienced when turned into Unaccompanied Foreign Minors by an administrative process whose aim is to protect them as vulnerable persons. The project fieldwork included in-depth interviews with immigrant minors and experts. Additionally, we carried out semi-structured interviews with professionals involved in the development and education of the unaccompanied foreign minors. We also organised focus groups with the resident Canary Islands population. The results we obtained reveal shortcomings in several areas: in the personal and emotional experience this process implies for the migrants, in the area of administration and management and, particularly, in the transition from the condition of unaccompanied foreign minor to that of adult immigrant.
- Connecting the Disconnected: The Migratory Transnationalism of Moroccans in the Canary Islands
Keywords: Transnationalism, international migration, islandness, Canary Islands
Abstract: The Canary Islands, a region of Spain and the European Union, are just over 100 kilometres away from the coast of western Africa off Morocco’s southern border. Moroccan immigration to the Canaries grew during the last boom in Spain’s economy (1994-2007), which saw an influx of people from the regions surrounding Morocco who responded to the needs of the local labour market that caters to the tourism industry. This paper presents evidence of an emerging transnational social field that unites the Canaries to these regions through the transnational activities of migrant families. It also considers the unique features that insularity introduces into the analysis of migratory transnationality. The case of the Canaries shows that the territorial dimension and the proximity of borders exert selective effects on migratory flows and on the stratification of the transnational social field.
- Cultural Realignment, Islands and the Influence of Tourism: A new conceptual approach
Keywords: Cultural realignment, identity, islands, tourism, anthropology, Canary Islands, La Gomera
Abstract: This article introduces a new concept: ‘cultural realignment’, which embraces phenomena such as cultural representation, interpretation, stereotyping and branding. Cultural realignment is the intentional depiction or interpretation of a culture (or part of one) for a specific preconceived purpose. It relates directly to power, and there is a need for this broad concept to help comprehend processes in an era of increasing globalisation, the growth of cultural commodification and the proliferation of representations in media including the internet. A prime concern of the article is the way that cultural realignment impacts on the identities of the communities subject to the realignment. The main examples given relate to island communities and their representation by anthropologists, and to island tourist destinations that have been subject to various descriptions, physical transformations and commodification driven by the tourism industry. A case study is examined as an example in the Canary Islands, using original research material related to recent and longitudinal fieldwork.
- Emergence and the Insula Improvisa: St. Brendan’s Island and Afro/Canarian (Jazz) Fusion Music
Keywords: Canary Islands, improvisation, cartography, jazz music, fusion, St. Brendan’s Island
Abstract: This article addresses the historical creation of the Canary Islands as spaces of isolation and spaces that isolate, and suggests how these spaces are re-appropriated and re/worked as critiques of that isolation. Beginning with the mythical St. Brendan's Island, I will outline some episodes through which we can critique the actively produced elisions that confine the Canary Islands and their inhabitants to the periphery, perhaps glimpsing opportunities for emergence from within these boundaries. By outlining some historical gaps in Afro/Canarian historiography and geographic gaps in Afro/Canarian cartography, I will demonstrate how the politics of the cite can gloss over the actualities of the site. Amid these gaps and fissures lie spaces in which inhabitants of the Canary Islands can re/form local and global ideas about the Islands and local cultures. Based on ongoing ethnographic research begun in 2009, this article explores how Afro/Canarian jazz musicians draw on local histories and historiographies of fusion to resist and rewrite their peripheral status, reasserting and re/placing themselves on the map through critical re-appropriation of cartographic, historiographical, and sonic technologies.
- About The Authors
- The Island/Sea/Territory Relationship: Towards a broader and three dimensional view of the Aquapelagic Assemblage
Keywords: Aquapelagic assemblage, aquapelago, Channel Islands, Island Studies, maritories/merritoires, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Trinidad
Abstract: Through my research in geography I have developed a particular interest in insularity and territorialisation of marine spaces. By linking these two elements, the concept of aquapelagic assemblage has appeared at the right time and provides me with the opportunity of making a contribution to the exchanges about it in two directions. The first will pick up Philip Hayward’s remark that aquapelagic research “does not simply offer a surface model, it also encompasses the spatial depths of the water” (2012a: 5). This sentence reminds us of the stress on the issues that constitute – out of any specifically insular context – an important tendency in the appropriation process of marine space. Furthermore, the author, in a second article, has taken care to dispel doubts on a question which, he tells us, produced a reaction in a number of readers of his initial exposition of the concept – namely that the aquapelagic assemblage cannot simply be equated with archipelagic sites (2012b: 1-2). By promoting this concept, he establishes a distinction of a chorographic nature that deserves to be extended to more strictly insular and coastal contexts. I will return to this point in the second part of this article, principally with reference to examples of islands with which I am more familiar.
- Locating Shima in Island Drumming: Amami Ōshima and its Archipelagic Drum Groups
Keywords: Amami Ōshima, community, drum groups, Japan, shima
Abstract: Amami Ōshima to the southwest of Japan is an island between cultures. Geographically situated between Okinawa prefecture to the southwest and the much larger island of Kyūshū to the northeast, Amami Ōshima is the largest of a chain of islands known as Amami-guntō (the Amami archipelago) within Kagoshima prefecture and the Nansei archipelago. In the contemporary sphere of global cultural flows, some new traditions of group drumming have emerged on Amami Ōshima that have recognised roots either in Okinawa, in mainland Japan or in Amami Ōshima itself. This article focuses on these new traditions of ensemble drum performance and has the aim of showing not only where, how and why such groups have been established but also how a notion of community is constructed within these groups on several different levels of island and archipelagic identity. In doing this, the discussion draws on the notion of shima, meaning both ‘island’ and ‘community’, as a way of discussing select drum groups on the island as case studies for cultural analysis. As well as outlining the background of the drum groups, the article focuses on exploring the notion of shima from different perspectives that cover local, regional and national cultural flows. The article argues that the unique geographic terrain of the island is inextricably linked to a specific notion of islandness, and that this relates to further spheres of belonging in an islandscape of drum groups, villages, islands and archipelagos.
- Austronesian Cultural Heritage: Historic Preservation and Archaeological Conservation in the Western Pacific
Keywords: Historic preservation, island archaeology, archaeological heritage, Austronesians, Micronesia, Pohnpei
Abstract: The idea of shared cultural heritage is significant today for many who speak languages of the widely-dispersed Austronesian language family and who are bearers of a set of related island cultures found extensively in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Shared heritage is an emerging issue throughout the region from Taiwan to Rapa Nui (and even Madagascar to the west), and from Hawai’i to New Zealand. In this paper, cultural heritage is considered in relation to ‘historic’ or ‘heritage’ preservation and archaeological conservation. Historic preservation includes a set of concepts related to conservation of materials from the past and their interlinked interpretations that we value today and selectively re-use. Since the 1970s, archaeological work done in the chains of small islands representing Micronesia in the west central Pacific has been adding to our understanding of the origins and adaptations of early Austronesian colonisers beginning some 3,000-4,000 years ago; it has also provided training in historic preservation at the local level. Illustrations, primarily from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, reflect some of the developments in historic preservation in that area.
- Mission-Educated Girls in 19th Century Saint-Louis and their Impact on the Evolution of Tayo
Keywords: Tayo, creole languages, Saint-Louis, New Caledonia, Mission schools, sociolinguistics
Abstract: Between 1860 and 1920, a creole language, Tayo, emerged as the community language of Saint-Louis a former Marist mission in southern New Caledonia. This article briefly introduces the demographic history of Saint-Louis and the arrival of Melanesian neophytes from different ethno-linguistic areas of the colony before discussing the influence of education on the development of Tayo, the Pacific’s only French-lexified creole language. It closely examines the role played by the mission-educated Saint- Louis girls in the formation of this language of intra-village communication, exploring the teaching conditions at Saint-Louis at both the boys’ and girls’ schools and comparing these with other mission schools in New Caledonia. Highlighting the exceptional nature of the linguistic ecology of Saint-Louis, it considers the reasons why a French-based creole evolved in Saint-Louis as opposed to an indigenous language-based creole or the adoption of one of the Kanak languages spoken by the neophytes as a vehicular language.
- The Determinants of Migration in Small Islands
Keywords: Small islands, migration, political status, immigrant, emigrant
Abstract: This study examines the determinants of migration in forty two small mainly tropical islands less than three million in population. Thirteen independent variables are used to measure various economic, social and demographic influences on small island migration patterns. Two profiles are constructed contrasting the characteristics and behaviour of twenty three immigrant and nineteen emigrant islands. The former are found to be more affluent than their emigrant counterparts with higher per capita income and lower unemployment. They also exhibit lower infant mortality, fertility and greater progress through the demographic transition. Immigrant islands are also characterised by dependent political status and the assumed favourable advantages of substantial trade, investment and tourism linkages with their patron countries. Finally, a provisional multivariate model is developed that suggests a combination of determinants account for most of the variation in island migration. They include per capita income, working-age population, literacy and political status.
- The Blasket Islands and the Literary Imagination
Keywords: Blasket Islands, Tomás O’Crohan, Maurice O’Sullivan, Irish literature, cultural politics
Abstract: As part of an ancient mythology that saw an animated nature reflected in every place and thing, the island motif has long resonated with spiritual and political significance within Irish culture, and none more so than the Blasket Islands, which rose to prominence as Ireland undertook the processes of national Revival. Reverberating with the ancient significances of the island motif as a place of heightened metaphysical experience, the Great Blasket Island, home of Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig Sayers and Muiris Ó Suilleabháin, stirred the imaginations of those who lived upon it and of those who visited. Although the island community ceased to be more than half a century ago, the Blasket Islands continue to fascinate. This article will offer a brief telling of the Blasket story and then examine the various significances of the island motif in Irish culture that drew the Blasket Islands into the nation’s story of cultural and political revival. It will then consider various representations of the Blaskets in literature written since the demise of the island community – poetry, including Brendan Behan’s ‘A Jackeen Says Goodbye to the Blasket’, Desmond Egan’s ‘The Great Blasket’, Dairena Ní Chinnéide’s suite of poems ‘An Blascaod Mór/The Great Blasket’, and Julie O’Callaghan’s poem, ‘The Great Blasket Island’ followed by two short stories, ‘The Islanders’ by Andrew Sean Greer and Brian Doyle’s ‘The Train’.
- But who Crafted the Craftspeople? Examining craft policy on three Atlantic Canadian islands
Keywords: Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, craftspeople, identity, cultural production
Abstract: Drawing upon the work of Pierre Bourdieu, this paper sets out to examine the connection between craft policy and the construction of the island craftsperson. This involves examining the craft policies of three Atlantic Canadian islands: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton. These policies were all released in the early 2000s with desires to promote their respective islands to tourists. Through this examination, it is evident that the notion of the craftsperson is not self-determined, is not tied to class of origin, and is not presented as being connected to the culture of the particular island. The official construction of the craftsperson is one that is market- driven and determined by perceived tourists’ desires.
- 'Patangis-Buwaya': Reflection and praxis ten years after engaging with Iraya- Mangyan internal refugees
Keywords: Iraya-Mangyan, internal refugees, Philippines, Mindoro, Luzon, ‘Patangis-Buwaya’
Abstract: In January 2003, I heard the news that a number of Iraya-Mangyan families from Mindoro Island had fled their homes and ancestral domain to seek refuge in the island of Luzon. The news reported that they were escaping a growing militarisation of their island. Having engaged the Iraya-Mangyan in ethnomusicological research from 1982 to 1987, I felt the dire necessity to at least find out who these families were and what the situation was on the island. Through a reliable network of cultural workers and after a month’s search, I eventually found them in a place they called Kanlungan (a ‘place of refuge’) and there heard horrifying stories of terror inflicted by paramilitary units, of arbitrary arrests and of summary executions. That was too much for a people who have lived through the land and relied mainly on the forests for sustenance. I am a composer and an ethnomusicologist by profession and while my academic position in one of the most prestigious universities in the Philippines gives my praxis some degree of stature, my work both as ethnomusicologist and composer fits uncomfortably in both those fields. In looking back, ten years after my last engagement with the Iraya-Mangyan, I reflect on my praxis and the manner in which the plight of the Iraya-Mangyan informed the creation of my composition ‘Patanngis-Buwaya’, a work that attempts to give insight into the Iraya-Mangyan experience for international audiences.
- About The Authors
- The Constitution of Assemblages and the Aquapelagality of the Haida Gwaii
Keywords: Aquapelago, aquapelagic assemblages, actants, Haida Gwaii, Gwaii Haanas
Abstract: Aquapelagos can be defined as assemblages of the marine and terrestrial spaces of groups of islands and their adjacent waters that are generated by human habitation and activity. This article explicates the nature of an assemblage (in this context) and addresses the manner in which assemblages are constituted at particular historical points and subsequently modified due to indigenous and/or exogenous processes, influences and/or events. It outlines the parameters of these modifications and the variegation of aspects of aquapelagality. The article uses the communally constituted locale of the Haida Gwaii aquapelago as a paradigmatic example with particular regard to historical factors and particularly those related to the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas marine conservation area and Haida heritage site. Discussion of these aspects illuminates key elements of the concept of the aquapelago.
- Naming the Aquapelago: Reconsidering Norfolk Island fishing ground names
Keywords: Toponymy, fishing ground names, language aesthetics, linguistic fieldwork, toponymic ethnography, aquapelago
Abstract: Fishing ground names are an understudied taxon in toponymy. By reviewing the author's recent consideration of this toponym taxon, this article claims that an aesthetic appreciation of fishing ground names and their emplacement as linguistic and cultural ephemera is warranted within Island Studies and recent scholarship in aquapelagos.
- Introducing Island Detentions: The placement of asylum seekers and migrants on islands