Lila Singh-Peterson's Confirmation Presentation

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Lila Singh-Peterson's Confirmation Presentation

We invite you to attend the Confirmation Presentation of Lila Singh-Peterson, a Doctor of Philosophy candidate within the School of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

Title: Examining Social Inequality in Rural Fiji Through the Lens of Bourdieu

Presenter: Lila Singh-Peterson

When: Friday, 18 May from 10-12 noon

Where: Building E, 1.04

Abstract: Social inequality is a characteristic of almost every society on Earth today, as societies navigate the tension between dominance and equality, and between hierarchy and egalitarianism. How social inequality plays out across the Republic of Fiji has been well documented and quantitative patterns of social inequality have been observed for over forty years. Longitudinal studies of household incomes in Fiji have identified clear patterns of increasing levels of income inequality that have been explained in terms of gender, ethnicity and geography. There has been little progress however to identify why these patterns exist. How people experience poverty, and the capacity they have to respond to vulnerability and risk are strongly constrained by their position within Fijian social structures, which invariably dictates their access to resources and assets. Several researchers have pointed to the tripartite basis of Fijian culture and society which encompasses three cultural fields - the lotu (the church), vanua (traditional chiefly village structure) and, the matanitu (bureaucratic government). The traditional trilogy of power - the vanua, lotu, and matanitu have historically and in contemporary times shaped the lives of all Fijians. In light of rapidly increasing levels of inequality, it is logical to examine these traditional institutions and the intersections between them to determine whether they are directly or indirectly contributing to, or alleviating conditions for social equality. Bourdieu’s theory of practice provides an ideal framework through which these cultural fields and the actors operating within and between them can be examined in order to investigate the mechanisms underpinning social inequality.

Bio: Lila Singh-Peterson has worked in community development and public policy in government and academia for almost 20 years. Over the last 5 years, Lila has been working in the South Pacific as a research fellow and is currently leading a community development component of a large ACIAR (DFAT) funded research project. As an Australian and Fijian citizen working in Fiji, Lila collaborates with rural communities across the islands experiencing hardship and poverty and hopes that this study will be useful for policy-makers in Fiji targeting social inequality. Lila is grateful for the support of her supervisors Dr Phillip Ablett, Professor Patrick Nunn and Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Lawrence (UQ).

Should you have any questions about this event please contact FABHDR@usc.edu.au.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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