Lagoon livelihoods: gender and shell money in Langalanga, Solomon Islands

Barclay, Kate, McClean, Nicholas, Foale, Simon, Sulu, Reuben, and Lawless, Sarah (2018) Lagoon livelihoods: gender and shell money in Langalanga, Solomon Islands. Maritime Studies, 17 (2). pp. 199-211.

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Gender shapes livelihoods through access to resources and the distribution of benefits from economic activities. To work effectively with local people, resource management and community development initiatives should therefore be sensitive to the influence of gender on livelihoods. This paper considers gender in the context of broader social trends around livelihoods and focuses on a case study of shell money production and trade in the Langalanga Lagoon in Malaita Province, Solomon Islands. We pool data from several recent research projects with historical material from secondary sources. We find that the gender division of labour in the shell money value chain has changed somewhat over time, particularly in that women are now actively involved in trading. However, this shift has created friction due to norms about what kinds of activities are suitable for women, and who should control cash incomes. Whilst shell money remains one of the most important livelihoods in Langalanga lagoon, our findings also illustrate that the shell money value chain and the income earned varies considerably from family to family, with some making a better living than others. We argue that interventions seeking to improve livelihoods in coastal communities should thus be based on an understanding of differentiation within communities, and practitioners should consider whether interventions will result in community development, or may have the impact of increasing inequality between families.

Item ID: 56057
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2212-9790
Keywords: Coastal fisheries, Value chain, Division of labour, Sustainable development, Women, Pacific Islands, Shell money
Copyright Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2018 08:09
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440107 Social and cultural anthropology @ 100%
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