State, Society and Governance in Melanesia

The state, society and governance in Melanesia program at ANU (SSGM) is devoted to the study of the Melanesian peoples and their countries – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji – and constitutes the largest concentration of research expertise on Melanesia in the world. Books by SSGM scholars encompass studies of the history, anthropology and contemporary development of Melanesia and are indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in the region. 

Please note: The following list of titles is sorted by publication date, with the most recent first.

Solomon Islanders in World War II »

An Indigenous Perspective

Authored by: Anna Annie Kwai
Publication date: December 2017

The Solomon Islands Campaign of World War II has been the subject of many published historical accounts.


War and Other Means »

Power and violence in Houaïlou (New Caledonia)

Authored by: Michel Naepels
Publication date: October 2017

War and Other Means describes and analyses the practices of war, the ‘objects of war’ and the conventions of the use of violence in Houaïlou, New Caledonia.


The General’s Goose »

Fiji's Tale of Contemporary Misadventure

Authored by: Robbie Robertson
Publication date: August 2017

His admirers said he was a charismatic leader with a dazzling smile, a commoner following an ancient tradition of warrior service on behalf of an indigenous people who feared marginalisation at the hands of ungrateful immigrants.


Bearing Witness »

Essays in honour of Brij V. Lal

Edited by: Doug Munro, Jack Corbett
Publication date: July 2017

"Brij V. Lal is a singular scholar. His work has spanned disciplines—from history to politics—and genres—from conventional monograph history, to participant history, political commentary, encyclopaedia, biography and faction.


Kastom, property and ideology »

Land transformations in Melanesia

Publication date: March 2017

The relationship between customary land tenure and ‘modern’ forms of landed property has been a major political issue in the ‘Spearhead’ states of Melanesia since the late colonial period, and is even more pressing today, as the region is subject


A Mission Divided »

Race, Culture and Colonialism in Fiji’s Methodist Mission

Authored by: Dr Kirstie Close-Barry
Publication date: December 2015

This book provides insight into the long process of decolonisation within the Methodist Overseas Missions of Australasia, a colonial institution that operated in the British colony of Fiji.


A New Era? »

Timor-Leste after the UN

Edited by: Sue Ingram, Lia Kent, Andrew McWilliam
Publication date: September 2015

Timor-Leste has made impressive progress since its historic achievement of independence in 2002.


Political Life Writing in the Pacific »

Reflections on Practice

Publication date: July 2015

This book aims to reflect on the experiential side of writing political lives in the Pacific region.


The Boy from Boort »

Remembering Hank Nelson

Edited by: Bill Gammage, Brij V. Lal, Gavan Daws
Publication date: July 2014

Hank Nelson was an academic, film-maker, teacher, graduate supervisor and university administrator.


Election 2007 »

The Shift to Limited Preferential Voting in Papua New Guinea

Edited by: R.J. May, Ray Anere, Nicole Haley, Katherine Wheen
Publication date: September 2013

Papua New Guinea’s general election in 2007 attracted particular interest for several reasons.


Politics, Development and Security in Oceania »

Edited by: David Hegarty, Darrell Tryon
Publication date: April 2013

The chapters in this volume canvass political change and development across the Pacific Islands from a variety of perspectives, each contributing to the analysis of a region growing in complexity and in confidence.


Civic Insecurity »

Law, Order and HIV in Papua New Guinea

Edited by: Vicki Luker, Sinclair Dinnen
Publication date: December 2010

Papua New Guinea has a complex ‘law and order’ problem and an entrenched epidemic of HIV. This book explores their interaction.


Policy Making and Implementation »

Studies from Papua New Guinea

Edited by: Ron May
Publication date: September 2009

There is a vast literature on the principles of public administration and good governance, and no shortage of theoreticians, practitioners and donors eager to push for public sector reform, especially in less-developed countries.


The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji »

A Coup to End All Coups?

Publication date: April 2009

This book explores the factors behind – and the implications of – the 2006 coup.


A Time Bomb Lies Buried »

Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970

Authored by: Brij V. Lal
Publication date: March 2008

A Time Bomb Lies Buried discusses the debates which took place in Suva and London as well as the politics and processes which led Fiji to independence in 1970 after 96 years of colonial rule.


Conflict and Resource Development »

In The Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

Edited by: Nicole Haley, Ron May
Publication date: November 2007

The Southern Highlands is one of Papua New Guinea’s most resource-rich provinces, but for a number of years the province has been riven by conflict.


Globalisation and Governance in the Pacific Islands »

State, Society and Governance in Melanesia

Authored by: Stewart Firth
Publication date: December 2006

The Pacific Islands are feeling the effects of globalisation. Free trade in sugar and garments is threatening two of Fiji’s key industries. At the same time other opportunities are emerging.