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
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.
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‘
“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: Chair: 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
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
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
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
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
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