Confronting Caribbean Challenges: Hybrid Identities and Governance in Small-scale Island Jurisdictions

How did political reforms and intensive migrations affect historically grounded identities and political practices on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, and Saba? This project seeks to answer this question by integrating multiple disciplines to analyze governance and identity in small-scale polities, with a particular focus on non-sovereignty, migration, and (sustainable) development.

After the dismantlement of the Netherlands Antilles, the six islands remain locked in the postcolonial imbroglio resulting from their rejection of full sovereignty. Against the advantages inherent in the asymmetrical link to the metropolis, there are constraints to the insular populations’ autonomy and identities. The constitutional reforms may have deepened the ambivalence of Antillean citizens and politicians towards the Netherlands, while high levels of immigration raise other questions about insular belonging. The ‘Confronting Caribbean Challengesproject will analyze the intersection of (recent) political reforms, often intensive migrations, and current practices of governance on four of these islands.

The focus is on the least-studied islands of the former Netherlands Antilles, but the approach is comparative. This project utilizes a three-tiered multi-disciplinary framework linking the past (historical development of hybrid identities), the present (governance, migration and citizenship issues), and the future (sustainable tourism capitalizing on natural and historical heritage). The three sub-projects will combine an historical perspective, contemporary empirical data and fresh insights into the literature on governance and identity in small-scale polities, emphasizing the variables of non-sovereignty and high-intensity migration. The project will feed into ongoing debates about governance, insular identities, and local agency.

Confronting Caribbean Challenges Newsletter

CCC newsletter #2 – June 2015

CCC-Newsletter#3 – September 2015

CCC-Newsletter #4 – December 2015

CCC-Newsletter #5 – March 2016

CCC-Newsletter #6 – July 2016

CCC- Newsletter #7– September 2016

CCC- Newsletter #8 – February 2017



Click here to go back to the full list of research projects ongoing at the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and in collaboration with other departments and institutions.

Related Reseachers

Gert Oostindie (project director)
Jessica Vance Roitman (researcher)
Wouter Veenendaal (researcher)
Stacey Mac Donald (researcher)
Sanne Rotmeijer (researcher)

In the media

25 July 2015 | The Bonaire Reporter (Stacey Mac Donald): ‘Protecting the nature and cultural heritage on Bonaire (p. 15)’

20 April 2016 | Radiostatia PJB-50 92.3 FM (Stacey Mac Donald): Radio interview during the Shedding Light a Government Information Service Program on St. Eustatius

8 April 2015 | Antilliaans Dagblad: ‘Onderzoek van KITLV naar eilanden’

3 April 2015 | NTR Caribisch Netwerk: ‘Groot onderzoek naar Caribische Rijksdelen

2 April 2015 | Dichtbij Nederland: ‘Interview with KITLV researchers about project on the Caribbean

24 March 2015 | Antilliaans Dagblad (Wouter Veenendaal): ‘Groeiende onvrede met nieuwe status

23 October 2014 | NPO Radio 1 Vandaag (Gert Oostindie): ‘Curacao wil van Nederlandse invloed af’

23 October 2014 | Volkskrant: ‘Gouverneur tussen twee vuren’

20 October 2014 | Antilliaans Dagblad (Gert Oostindie): ‘Toezicht Nederland sterker’ + ‘Politieke Legitimiteit

October 2014 | Idee (Gert Oostindie): ‘Decentralisatie overzee

23 September 2014 | Antilliaans Dagblad (Wouter Veenendaal): ‘Het democratisch tekort in ons Koninkrijk, een oplosbaar probleem‘ (pp 8)