Conflicting Identities and The Search for the Post-Colonial State in New Caledonia

Alan Anderson, Kjell Anderson


Through an extensive historical review and political analysis, the authors emphasize that in the search for the post-colonial state in New Caledonia, there have been three conflicting views of national identity: the ethnonationalism of the indigenous Melanesian Kanaks, the perpetuation, yet reinterpretation, of French colonialism, and, increasingly, a more accommodating pluralistic view. An updated demographic profile indicates that no one particular ethnic category is predominant; New Caledonia is clearly multicultural, although politics have focused around bipolar competition between the colonial French and the indigenous Kanaks. In pondering the future of New Caledonia, the authors conclude that both indigenous ethnonationalism and French neo-colonialism could in fact be accommodated within a pluralistic model; an effective pluralism policy can be formulated and promulgated, moving New Caledonia more purposefully towards full independence.


New Caledonia; Nouvelle Calédonie; Ethnic Conflict; Ethnic Relations; Kanak; Indigenous Nationalism; French Colonialism; Colonialism; Nationalism;

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