SOTP2016 Book launch: Statebuilding and State Formation in the Western Pacific: Solomon Islands in Transition?

Event details

SSGM Book Launch

Date & time

Wednesday 14 September 2016


Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


James Batley


Hannah McMahon

The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program warmly invites you to attend the launch of Statebuilding and State Formation in the Western Pacific: Solomon Islands in Transition? edited by Matthew Allen and Sinclair Dinnen.

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.

Matthew Allen

Matthew is a Research Fellow with the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program. Prior to that he spent five years with the Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program (RMAP), also in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. Matthew works at the interstices of geography, political science and anthropology. The unifying theme for his scholarly and policy work in the Western Pacific over the past 15 years has been the relationships between social, political and environmental change.

He has published several book chapters and articles stemming from this work, and is an author of Pillars and Shadows: Statebuilding as Peacebuilding in Solomon Islands (2010). His doctoral research on the conflict in Solomon Islands has resulted in his first book, Greed and Grievance: Ex-militants’ Perspectives on the Conflict in Solomon Islands, 1998-2003, (University of Hawaii Press, 2013).

Sinclair Dinnen

Sinclair is a Senior Research Fellow with the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program. He has a background in socio-legal studies and completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 1996. He has longstanding research interests in the areas of regulatory pluralism, comparative criminology, justice reform, policing, conflict, peacebuilding, and post-colonial state formation and nationbuilding.

Sinclair has published in a range of journals including Oceania, Contemporary Pacific, Third World Quarterly, Policing & Society, and Conflict, Security & Development, as well as chapters in edited collections, and has also co-edited several books including, most recently, (with Vicki Luker) Civic Insecurity: Law, Order and HIV in Papua New Guinea (ANU E Press, 2010). He has undertaken policy work for international donors and non-government organisations.

The book will be launched by James Batley, Distinguished Policy Fellow, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. Refreshments will be served, and copies of the book will be available for purchase in the atrium of the Hedley Bull Building.

More information about the book is available via this link.

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