Beneath the State: Chiefs of Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands, coping and adapting

SSGM Working Paper

Author/s (editor/s):

Graham Baines

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper


That Solomon Islands village communities find their governments to be distant and invisible is not a new observation (Wairiu, et al, 2003, among others). Allen and Dinnen, 2013, have aptly described what happens locally as ‘beneath the state’.

During the ‘tension years’ 1998-2003 Solomon Islands national government for an extended period was unable to function but village communities not involved in militia action continued under traditional governance. In terms of both presence and performance the perception of most villagers is that chiefly governance is ‘above’ the State.

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