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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

Small Islands, Big Talk: Responding to Social Change in the Republic of the Marshall Islands

This presentation identifies the capacity to respond to social change issues in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Small Island States are a unique group of countries that face a myriad of development issues. The Republic of the Marshall Islands is one of those countries. With 29 atolls and 5 islands it is a geographically and logistically challenging area of the world for development to take place. With global warming, increased sea rise and a decrease in US funding there is a shift in social patterns towards urbanization, under employment and changes in the social structure. The social change issues taking place in the Republic of the Marshall Islands are unlike any other country, with itís unique history and culture the Republic of the Marshall Islands are a place all their own and the long term social change issues need to be appreciated. There is little to no academic research being conducted in the Republic of the Marshall Island in any field, and none in the area of social change. Through a mixed methods approach including key informant interviews, focus groups, participant observation and social network analysis, the research found that there are significant gaps in the underlying understanding of contributing factors to social change issues. The Republic of the Marshall Islands also lacks the enabling environment and leadership capacity to address these gaps. This presentation will use Marshallese art and story telling to illustrate the research results.

Presenter: Angela Saunders (University of Guelph) -- asaund01@uoguelph.ca
Topic: Anthropology, Development & Economics - Panel
Location: 11 Hartwell
Time: 2 pm (Session III)