Workshop 3: Island Life – the constant conflict between economy and society



  • Keynote Speaker Biography – Professor Godfrey Baldacchino


Godfrey Baldacchino is Pro Rector and Professor of Sociology at the University of Malta, Malta; UNESCO co-Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada; Founding Executive Editor of Island Studies Journal (2006-2016); and President of the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA). He has advanced the critical understanding of the study of islands, small states and other small island jurisdictions. He has authored and edited over 40 books as well as some 140 journal articles and book chapters.



  • Workshop/Excursion Summary
  • Topic Overview


Due to their insular nature and their limited size, islands often display economies that vary greatly from that of mainland Europe or any other large land masses.  The Maltese Islands are no exception to this. Due to its strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, the country spent most of its recorded history passing the hands from one foreign empire to another.  With each shift in power, the economy was dominated respectively by agriculture and aquaculture, by the best Christian piratery observed in the entire Mediterranean Basin during the crusades, and eventually by the most extensive medical care and treatment location for the Allies in the midst of World War I. Nowadays, temperate and tropical islands like Malta, are often regarded as a major tourist destination for their sun, sand and sea. However, our economy, as is that of other islands, is still evolving and beach tourism is not the only major economic sector that we host. In fact, the village of Birzebbugia situated along Malta’s southern coast, is known to host activities that range from the archaeological heritage conservation, residential activities, ecological value in valleys, beach tourism, economic activities related to the Malta’s only commercial trade port and so much more.  Consequently, such a density of land uses on a small landmass often results in social and economic conflicts, some of which have still not yet been resolved.



  • Workshop and Excursion:


    • Learn general concepts of island economies with particular focus on conflicts due to restrained territory
    • Learn about social concepts such as brain drain, remittance, and language proficiency
    • Visit the megalithic temple of Borg in-Nadur
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the main economic/social activities observed in the Birzebbugia Village
    • Do a survey of economic vs residential activities along the coast and further inland to see prevalent activities and change of activities as we move away from the coastal resource
    • Give out questionnaires to residents, tourists and employees about conflicting economic and social activities and their ideas for improvement;
    • Produce a conflict map of the area
    • Produce a document with feasible actions that can be taken to resolve some of the conflicts
    • Debate gentrification issues in this area


    • No. of Participants: 20 students