Hom and Honiara: interpreting, importing, and adapting "home" in Solomon Islands
Rodolfo Maggio (University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
Elements of "Hom" can be identified in the peri-urban everyday life of Gilbert Camp community. These elements are relevant for the very existence of the community itself. They are part of a relational attempt to create a “home” for a population of settled immigrants.
Paper long abstract:
Gilbert Camp is a squatter settlement situated across the south-eastern segment of the Honiara town boundary, thus belonging at once to the City Council and the Guadalcanal Provincial Government. Divided into two distinct administrative territories, Gilbert Camp is inhabited by a population of immigrants from other provinces, especially Malaita. Caught between two differently foreign entities (the Solomon Islands State and the Guadalcanal Province), people in Gilbert Camp experience confusion and the need to create a sense of belonging to the place. They do so by voicing their discomfort with the current land policy; by promoting the enforcement of a hybrid legislation through the collaboration of local chiefs and the National Police; by creating rituals that adapt their economic priorities to their traditional moral concerns; and by making a selective usage of local forms of Christianity to accommodate new ideas of masculinity within their patriarchal domestic arrangements. These activities are telling of an attempt to import their interpretations of Hom into the context of the Honiara squatter settlements. In this paper, I demonstrate the presence of elements of Hom in the peri-urban everyday life of the community and discuss their relevance for the very existence of the community itself. I argue that Hom is not simply an idealized interpretation of traditional life, imported and adapted to the urban context. Hom is part of a relational attempt to create a "home" for a population of settled immigrants.
Imaginaries of home