American University
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posted on 2023-09-07, 05:07 authored by Christopher Alan Erickson

Hawaii's political transformation from a sovereign nation to its American statehood represents controversial political, economic, and social phenomena. This research explores the ongoing ramifications of these controversies reflected in Hawaii's social movements and social work framed within the economic boundaries of the nonprofit industrial complex. Following statehood, the Hawaiian Renaissance Movement formed to challenge the dominant sociopolitical environment. Components of the Hawaiian Renaissance Movement contributed to changes in language, laws, land entitlements, and obtaining federal recognition that Hawaiian sovereignty had been unjustly overthrown. By the turn of the twenty-first century, Hawaiian Renaissance Movement began to lose its saliency. Simultaneously, the nonprofit industrial complex became a dominant political economic force homogenizing organizations through tax coding and legal articles of incorporation.Those who have been most marginalized by the changes in Hawaii are Hawaiians themselves. Higher mortality, poor health, economic and educational status brought social welfare organizations that could address such concerns. The welfare organizations established to help Hawaiians remain and flourish, while the political organizations established to change the conditions for Hawaiians have not fared as well. The Hawaiian Renaissance Movement has become factionalized in part due to the State's selective relationship with particular groups and economic conditions. The nonprofit industrial complex institutionalizes these conditions to favor organizations that do not challenge the status quo in Hawaii. Notwithstanding the process of activist marginalization, the Hawaiian people and their society remain resilient. The inclusion of Hawaiian linguistic and cultural elements is prevalent in most of the public, private, political, and institutional spheres -- including the State and agencies operating within the nonprofit industrial complex. Additionally, there is a notable ethnic marking of whites across Hawaii, differing from other American settings. Whiteness warrants attention as a demonstration of the Hawaiian Renaissance Movement's influence on racial-identity politics in Hawaii's cultural milieu and decolonization. Outcomes of the Hawaiian Renaissance Movement have been the integration of Hawaiian values into American political economic systems, a re-telling of Hawaiian history to one of American colonization and, in effect, an anti-hegemonic discourse about American involvement in the region. Meanwhile, the nonprofit industrial complex has diluted this movement's solidarity and effectiveness through a framework that hinders organizations' capacity to facilitate structural change. As nonprofit organizations grow in size (and power) their resources and activities become more closely scrutinized by the IRS, the State and the general public. Having a mission to change social injustice has become more difficult to fund than a mission of assisting people who endure the consequences structural inequity.



American University


Degree awarded: Ph.D. Anthropology. American University


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American University. Department of Anthropology

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  • Doctoral

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