This book provides a rigorous and cross-disciplinary analysis of this Melanesian nation at a critical juncture in its post-colonial and post-conflict history, with contributions from leading scholars of Solomon Islands. The notion of ‘transition’ as used to describe the recent drawdown of the decade-long Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) provides a departure point for considering other transformations – social, political and economic –under way in the archipelagic nation. Organised around a central tension between change and continuity, two of the book’s key themes are the contested narratives of changing state–society relations and the changing social relations around land and natural resources engendered by ongoing processes of globalisation and urbanisation. Drawing heuristically on RAMSI’s genesis in the ‘state- building moment’ that dominated international relations during the first decade of this century, the book also examines the critical distinction between ‘state-building’ and ‘state formation’ in the Solomon Islands context. It engages with global scholarly and policy debates on issues such as peacebuilding, state-building, legal pluralism, hybrid governance, globalisation, urbanisation and the governance of natural resources. These themes resonate well beyond Solomon Islands and Melanesia, and the book will be of interest to a wide range of students, scholars and development practitioners. This book was previously published as a special issue of The Journal of Pacific History.
Table of Contents
1. Solomon Islands in Transition?
Matthew G. Allen and Sinclair Dinnen
2. The Teleology and Romance of State-building in Solomon Islands
3. Honiara: Arrival City and Pacific Hybrid Living Space
4. From Taovia to Trustee: Urbanisation, Land Disputes and Social Differentiation in Kakabona
5. Customary Authority and State Withdrawal in Solomon Islands: Resilience or Tenacity?
6. Big Money in the Rural: Wealth and Dispossession in Western Solomons Political Economy
7. Maasina Rule beyond Recognition
8. Urban Land in Honiara: Strategies and Rights to the City
Matthew Allen is a Fellow at The Australian National University. A human geographer who has worked extensively across post-colonial Melanesia, he is the author of Greed and Grievance: Ex-militants’ perspectives on the Conflict in Solomon Islands (2013).
Sinclair Dinnen is a Senior Fellow at The Australian National University and a socio-legal scholar with longstanding experience as a researcher and policy adviser in the Melanesia region.