John Taylor

John Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Inquiry at La Trobe University. He is the author of Consuming Identity: Modernity and Tourism in New Zealand (1988) and The Other Side: Ways of Being and Place in Vanuatu (2008). He is also co-editor of two previous ANU Press titles, Working Together in Vanuatu: Research Histories, Collaborations, Projects and Reflections (2011, with Nick Thieberger) and Touring Pacific Cultures (2016, with Kalissa Alexeyeff).

Mobilities of Return »

Pacific Perspectives

Edited by: John Taylor, Helen Lee
In recent decades, the term ‘mobility’ has emerged as a defining paradigm within the humanities. For scholars engaged in the multidisciplinary topics and perspectives now often embraced by the term Pacific Studies, it has been a much more longstanding and persistent concern. Even so, specific questions regarding ‘mobilities of return’—that is, the movement of people ‘back’ to places that are designated, however ambiguously or ambivalently, as ‘home’—have tended to take a back seat within more recent discussions of mobility, transnationalism and migration. This volume situates return mobility as a starting point for understanding the broader context and experience of human mobility, community and identity in the Pacific region and beyond. Through diverse case studies spanning the Pacific region, it demonstrates the extent to which the prospect and practice of returning home, or of navigating returns between multiple homes, is a central rather than peripheral component of contemporary Pacific Islander mobilities and identities everywhere.

Touring Pacific Cultures »

Tourism is vital to the economies of most Pacific nations and as such is an important site for the meaningful production of shared and disputed cultural values and practices. This is especially the case when tourism intersects with other important arenas for cultural production, both directly and indirectly. Touring Pacific Cultures captures the central importance of tourism to the visual, material and performed cultures of the Pacific region. In this volume, we propose to explore new directions in understanding how culture is defined, produced, experienced and sustained through tourism-related practices across that region. We ask, how is cultural value, ownership, performance and commodification negotiated and experienced in actual lived practice as it moves with people across the Pacific?   ‘This collection is a welcome addition to tourism studies, or perhaps we should say post- or para-tourism. The essays bring out many facets and experiences too quickly bundled under a single label and focused exclusively on “destinations” visited by “outsiders”. Tourism, we see here, actively involves many different populations, societies, and economies, a range of local/global/regional engagements that can be both destructive and creative. Western outsiders aren’t the only ones on the move. Unequal power, (neo)colonial exploitation and capitalist commodification are very much part of the picture. But so are desire, adventure, pleasure, cultural reinvention and economic development. The effect, overall, is an attitude of alert, critical ambivalence with respect to a proliferating historical phenomenon. A bumpy and rewarding ride.’ — James Clifford, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz

Working Together in Vanuatu »

Research Histories, Collaborations, Projects and Reflections

Edited by: John Taylor, Nick Thieberger
This collection is derived from a conference held at the Vanuatu National Museum and Cultural Centre (VCC) that brought together a large gathering of foreign and indigenous researchers to discuss diverse perspectives relating to the unique program of social, political and historical research and management that has been fostered in that island nation. While not diminishing the importance of individual or sole-authored methodologies, project-centered collaborative approaches have today become a defining characteristic of Vanuatu’s unique research environment. As this volume attests, this environment has included a dynamically wide range of both ni-Vanuatu and foreign researchers and related research perspectives, most centrally including archaeologists and anthropologists, linguists, historians, legal studies scholars and development practitioners. This emphasis on collaboration has emerged from an ongoing awareness across Vanuatu’s research community of the need for trained researchers to engage directly with pressing social and ethical concerns, and out of the proven fact that it is not just from the outcomes of research that communities or individuals may be empowered, but also through their modes and processes of implementation, as through the ongoing strength and value of the relationships they produce. With this in mind, the papers presented here go beyond the mere celebration of collaboration by demonstrating Vanuatu’s specific environment of cross-cultural research as a diffuse set of historically emergent methodological approaches, and by showing how these work in actual practice.