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'Operation Restore Public Hope': Youth and the Magic of Modernity in Vanuatu.

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Abstract

This paper explores the measures known as 'Operation Restore Public Hope,' which were authorized during the State of Emergency in January 1998 in Port Vila, Vanuatu, after rioting and looting erupted over the alleged government mismanagement of the mandatory workers' savings fund. The excessive police violence associated with these 'clean-up measures', I argue, undermined the state's claim 'to restore public hope' and illuminated the changing relationship between kastomary leaders and the state as well as their competing strategies to define and maintain social order. The extraordinary events of the State of Emergency point to the confluence of sorcery practices and police violence; underline the contested nature of everyday life, and draw attention to the disciplining of young bodies in new urban spaces. Exploring the deployment of a sorcery technique to counter police violence highlights the landscapes of modern power in Vanuatu where magical and state practices coexist with regimes of violence

Publisher: 'Wiley'
DOI identifier: 10.1002/j.1834-4461.2011.tb00092.x
OAI identifier: oai:islandscholar.ca:ir_9677
Provided by: IslandScholar
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