Imprisonment and punishment in Fiji and the links to narrative styles and Christian culture

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Based on my extensive interviews with ex-football star Henry Dyer, I explain and contextualise the following events so as to illustrate how discipline and punishment worked in the Western Fiji towns from 1985 up until the present: the imprisonment of Dyer and his escape and recapture during the military coup year of 1987; Dyer’s removal from the captaincy and the Fiji team to play Australia in November 1988, due to his alleged involvement in criminal activities; Dyer jumping the stadium fence to avoid police before a national-league game at Lautoka; and Dyer’s recent release from court with the case dismissed. Also covered is: an Indigenous villager’s theft of money from a Chinese gangster. The main findings are as follows: Even as a criminal, you are still marked as an Indigenous Fijian, via the non-mechanical approach, and hence are always an insider and subject to rehabilitation logic. Loopholes are retained, in the interests of fraternity and the awareness that, in Western Fiji, remote and thinly-populated as it is, people tend to know each other and so justice should be specifically-tailored. The strong Christian foundation of culture means that ex-prisoners will often couch their quest narratives in terms of suffering and redemption.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorrectional Facilities - Policies, Practices, and Challenges
EditorsNikolaos Stamatakis
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2024


  • Christian culture
  • cultural criminology
  • Fiji Islands
  • imrpisonment
  • narrative styles
  • political prisoners
  • punishment
  • rehabiliation
  • Western Fiji


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