Steven Ratuva

Dr Steven Ratuva is a political sociologist at the University of Auckland. With a PhD from the United Kingdom, he has worked in a number of universities including the Australian National University (Canberra; University of the South Pacific where he was Head of Sociology and University of Sussex (UK) where he was a researcher on civil-military relations in Asia. He was also Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales and National University of Taiwan, amongst others. He has been part of a number international research teams on projects on affirmative action, ethnic conflict, inequality, territorial disputes and armed conflict. He has been an international expert advisor and consultant on development, governance and regional security for a number of international organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP, UNESCO, Pacific Island Forum, International Labour Organization, International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs and Asian Development Bank. He has also been an advisor for the UN Committee on Decolonization and UN Department of Political Affairs. He has published widely on governance, military coups, civil-military relations, ethnic conflict, development, affirmative action and political systems in Asia and the Pacific and is often invited to present papers around the world on these issues. He is also advisor for a number of governments and international organizations on governance and development in the Pacific and an expert media commentator on Pacific politics. Dr Ratuva is also the President of the Pacific Islands Political Studies Association. He is currently involved in a major research project on big power geo-politics and regional security in the Pacific.

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.