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Author Piazza, Millicent Mei-Ling
Title Political-economic transitions and environmental change in Micronesian island states: A case study in the Republic of Palau
book jacket
Descript 219 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 67-02, Section: B, page: 0784
Adviser: Paul Mohai
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Michigan, 2006
This research explores the environmental impact of economic development of Small Island Developing States in Micronesia. The purpose of the study is to understand why degradation of island environments is occurring despite cultural traditions of environmental stewardship and conservation, limited resources, and a national economic development strategy that hinges on the success of an expanding nature tourism industry. This dissertation focuses on the Republic of Palau, as a case study for exploring Pacific Island nations' struggle to balance economic development with social and environmental concerns. The analysis presents how the impacts of globalization, emerging from colonial and post-colonial conditions, have resulted in fundamental societal changes that affect environmental management and protection. Specifically, this research identifies three primary political-economic changes impacting society and the environment: (1) how the expansion of capitalism and dependence on foreign aid and grants for economic development has affected Palauan economic self-sufficiency and environmental conservation and protection; (2) how the United States colonial establishment of government bureaucracies in Palau has led to changes in social structure and the decline of community environmental stewardship; (3) how the rise of western cultural traits in island communities, as seen in a shift from extended family networks to a nuclear family orientation, and the transition from subsistence supported lifestyles to import-dependant consumerism, is associated with a loss of local ecological knowledge and a weakened relationship with the natural environment. The primary data for this research were qualitative interviews conducted in Palau in 2002, with people representing the community, environmental non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and local businesses. Drawing from sociological theories of international development, this research specifically examines how development in Palau conforms to and can expand upon the literature on Dependency and Globalization
School code: 0127
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 67-02B
Subject History, Asia, Australia and Oceania
Sociology, General
Environmental Sciences
Alt Author University of Michigan
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