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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The marching rule : a Christian revolution in the Solomon Islands Fulbright, Timothy Calhoun


This thesis reconsiders, in the light of new evidence recently made available, the socio-political movements subsumed as 'Marching Rule' that occurred in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate during the period 1939-53. Part I, historical, considers the development of these movements. The need for an indigenous political institution by means of which the differences between governed and governors might be resolved was first articulated by an Anglican missionary, Rev. Fall owes. He taught a new model for self-rule, and his ideas and inspiration were widely propagated through the central Solomons. World War II introduced a period of liminality in which local rivalries were submerged in new unities. The American servicemen legitimated a model of representative government, and inspired new religious and organizational ideas. Islanders then elaborated new governmental institutions within a global model of third-world development, bounded by Roosevelt' Four Freedoms, the ideology of Social Gospel ism and the ideal of reconciling pagan/Christian differences under 'Christian Kastom.' Part II, ethnographical, considers Malaitan Christianity, traditional leadership and fol1owership, and the impact of new kinds of leadership growing out of mission organization or imposed by the colonial government. The South Sea Evangelical Mission policy of complete indigenization required converts to wholly abandon former ways. The mission provided literacy, a key to a variety of modernizations the Bible, a complete 'handbook for living'; and the notion of an incipient social institution, a community of God that was expressed mystically but which was to be created on earth in advance of the millennium. Part III draws together these themes, considering key indigenous Marching Rule documents in a semiotic analysis. The war was interpreted as the end of the old dispensation, the Americans as bringing a new world order. The social program is addressed as a logos, and the new image of a moral man, the Christian American serviceman, emerges as the ethos of the movement. Its emotional foundation, pathos was based on ethnicity and masinoa. brotherhood, which was also the weakness of the Marching Rule. Rather than the form of 'irrational' Cargoism imputed by the administration of the time, Marching Rule emerges as a Christian revolution aimed not to forcibly overthrow the colonial administration, but at the creation of a means of talking with it and converting it to something new.

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