Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York U.
Grant numberGr. 10144
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleRamones , Ikaika (New York U.) "Bureaucracy and Social Movements: Native Hawaiian Philanthrocapitalism and Indigenous Nation-Building"
For Indigenous peoples in the 21st century, bureaucracies are the major way that resources and relations with the settler state are managed. Although bureaucracies are fundamental for Indigenous persistence, the question of Indigeneity and bureaucracy remains under-theorized. How do bureaucracies mediate the relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous forms of social organization, personhood, and value? In the context of Hawaiʻi, this dissertation research examines the limits and affordances of “indigenizing” bureaucracy, aiming to provide new insights into the bureaucratic form and anthropological understandings of contemporary Indigeneities. This project examines how a large Native Hawaiian bureaucracy, constituted by the necessities of settler state sanction and the accumulation of capital, manages to intergenerationally seed anti-colonial Indigenous movements. As anthropologists have broadly remarked on the adaptability of Polynesian societies, this explores how core anthropological concepts including chieftainship, mana, and social organization have been rearticulated in such bureaucracies. In corporatized Indigenous bureaucracy, individuals must navigate the frictions in an organization that encompasses radically different concepts of value and personhood. By examining bureaucratic practices, documents, meetings, archives, and the life stories of activists and bureaucrats, this research aims to retheorize the bureaucratic form, as well as the conditions of contemporary Indigenous social reproduction.