Steven Ratuva

Professor Steven Ratuva, a political sociologist, is Director of Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies and Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Canterbury. He is Chair of the International Political Science Association Research Committee on Security, Conflict and Democratization, and was recently Fulbright senior fellow at University of California, Los Angeles, Duke University and Georgetown University. With a PhD from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Ratuva has worked in a number of universities around the world, including The Australian National University, University of Auckland and University of the South Pacific. His latest books are Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity (Palgrave, 2019) and Guns and Roses: Comparative Civil-militarily Relations in the Changing Security Environment (Palgrave, 2019).

orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2393-4581

Contested Terrain »

Reconceptualising Security in the Pacific

Authored by: Steven Ratuva
Contested Terrain provides a cutting-edge, comprehensive and innovative approach to critically analysing the multidimensional and contested nature of security narratives, justified by different ideological, political, cultural and economic rationales. This is important in a complex and ever-changing situation involving a dynamic interplay between local, regional and global factors. Security narratives are constructed in multiple ways and are used to frame our responses to the challenges and threats to our sense of safety, wellbeing, identity and survival but how the narratives are constructed is a matter of intellectual and political contestation. Using three case studies from the Pacific (Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands), Contested Terrain shows the different security challenges facing each country, which result from their unique historical, political and socio-cultural circumstances. Contrary to the view that the Pacific is a generic entity with common security issues, this book argues for more localised and nuanced approaches to security framing and analysis.

The people have spoken »

The 2014 elections in Fiji

The September 2014 elections in Fiji was one of the most anticipated in the history of the country, coming after eight years of military rule and under a radically new constitution that introduced a system of proportional representative (PR) and without any reserved communal seats. The election was won overwhelmingly by FijiFirst, a party formed by 2006 coup leader Frank Bainimarama. He subsequently embarked on a process of shifting the political configuration of Fijian politics from inter-ethnic to trans-ethnic mobilisation. The shift has not been easy in terms of changing people’s perceptions and may face some challenges in the longer term, despite Bainimarama’s clear victory in the polls. Ethnic consciousness has the capacity to become re‑articulated in different forms and to seek new opportunities for expression. This book explores these and other issues surrounding the 2014 Fiji elections in a collection of articles written from varied political, intellectual and ideological positions.

Politics of preferential development »

Trans-global study of affirmative action and ethnic conflict in Fiji, Malaysia and South Africa

Authored by: Steven Ratuva
The book is a critical examination of affirmative action, a form of preferential development often used to address the situation of disadvantaged groups. It uses a trans-global approach, as opposed to the comparative approach, to examine the relationship between affirmative action, ethnic conflict and the role of the state in Fiji, Malaysia and South Africa. While affirmative action has noble goals, there are often intervening political and ideological factors in the form of ethno-nationalism and elite interests, amongst others, which potentially undermine fair distribution of affirmative action resources. The book examines the affirmative action philosophies and programs of the three countries and raises pertinent questions about whether affirmative action has led to equality, social justice, harmony and political stability and explores future possibilities. Steven Ratuva provides a brilliant critical study, not just of affirmative action policy and practice in three very different postcolonial contexts, but of the very complex matters of principle, justification and ideology that are involved more generally. It is an invaluable contribution to the literature on this important topic. — Dr Stephanie Lawson, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University. Scholarly and provocative, Steven Ratuva’s Politics of Preferential Development is an original and insightful comparative contribution to the growing literature on affirmative action around the world. — Dr Ralph Premdas, Professor of Public Policy, University of West Indies; Former Professor, University of California Berkeley and University of Toronto.