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Pacific Youth »

Local and Global Futures

Edited by: Helen Lee
Publication date: 2019
Pacific populations are becoming younger and this ‘youth bulge’ is often perceived as a dangerous precursor to civil unrest. Yet young people are also a valuable resource holding exciting potential for the future of island nations. Addressing these conflicting views of youth, this volume presents ethnographic case studies of young people from across the Pacific and the diaspora. Moving beyond the typical focus on ‘youth problems’ in reports by Pacific governments and development agencies, the authors examine the highly diverse lives and perspectives of young people in urban and rural locations. They celebrate the contributions of youth to their communities while examining the challenges they face. The case studies explore the impacts of profound local and global changes and cover a wide sweep of youth experiences across themes of education, employment and economic inequalities, political and civil engagement, and migration and the diaspora. Contributors to this volume bring many decades of experience of research with Pacific people as well as fresh perspectives from early career and graduate researchers. Most are anthropologists and their chapters contribute to the interdisciplinary fields of youth studies and Pacific studies, offering thought-provoking insights into the possibilities for Pacific youth as they face uncertain futures.

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Labour Lines and Colonial Power »

Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia

Publication date: August 2019
Today, increases of so-called ‘low-skilled’ and temporary labour migrations of Pacific Islanders to Australia occur alongside calls for Indigenous people to ‘orbit’ from remote communities in search of employment opportunities. These trends reflect the persistent neoliberalism within contemporary Australia, as well as the effects of structural dynamics within the global agriculture and resource extractive industries. They also unfold within the context of long and troubled histories of Australian colonialism, and of complexes of race, labour and mobility that reverberate through that history and into the present. The contemporary labour of Pacific Islanders in the horticultural industry has sinister historical echoes in the ‘blackbirding’ of South Sea Islanders to work on sugar plantations in New South Wales and Queensland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as in wider patterns of labour, trade and colonisation across the Pacific region. The antecedents of contemporary Indigenous labour mobility, meanwhile, include forms of unwaged and highly exploitative labouring on government settlements, missions, pastoral stations and in the pearling industry. For both Pacific Islanders and Indigenous people, though, labour mobilities past and present also include agentive and purposeful migrations, reflective of rich cultures and histories of mobility, as well as of forces that compel both movement and immobility. Drawing together historians, anthropologists, sociologists and geographers, this book critically explores experiences of labour mobility by Indigenous peoples and Pacific Islanders, including Māori, within Australia. Locating these new expressions of labour mobility within historical patterns of movement, contributors interrogate the contours and continuities of Australian coloniality in its diverse and interconnected expressions.

Human Ecology Review: Volume 24, Number 2 »

Special Issue: Addressing the Great Indoors — A Transdisciplinary Conversation

Publication date: December 2018
Human Ecology Review is a semi-annual journal that publishes peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research on all aspects of human–environment interactions (Research in Human Ecology). The journal also publishes essays, discussion papers, dialogue, and commentary on special topics relevant to human ecology (Human Ecology Forum), book reviews (Contemporary Human Ecology), and letters, announcements, and other items of interest (Human Ecology Bulletin). Human Ecology Review also publishes an occasional paper series in the Philosophy of Human Ecology and Social–Environmental Sustainability.

Global Debates, Local Dilemmas »

Sex-selective Abortion in Contemporary Viet Nam

Authored by: Tran Minh Hang
Publication date: December 2018
The practice of sex-selective abortion is on the rise globally, stirring debates about gender inequality, medical ethics and reproductive autonomy. This book is the first ethnography to document practices of sex selection in Viet Nam. It shows how and why abortions are used to select the sex of children and how Vietnamese individuals and health professionals are implicated in this illicit and controversial practice. Telling the stories of women who have undergone sex-selective abortions, it traces their passage through sex determination and abortion decision-making phases, and investigates their experiences during and after their sex-selective abortions. It describes the turmoil experienced by individuals who undergo such abortions and explores their interactions with the spectrum of social actors and health institutions that facilitate practices of sex selection. As the first ethnographic study on sex-selective abortions in Viet Nam, this book delves into socially sensitive terrain and sheds light on personally fraught individual experiences of reproductive agency. It documents societal responses to sex-selective abortions in Viet Nam and identifies gaps in the state’s capacity to regulate reproductive desire in a marketised economy. A resource for researchers, it contributes to ongoing debates on sex selection and provides a framework for developing relevant social policies, interventions and support services. ‘This pioneering study offers a nuanced and sensitive account of sex-selective abortion as human experience. Through thought provoking case studies, the book provides rare ethnographic documentation of the complex quandaries that arise as selective reproductive technologies are routinised across the globe.’ — Tine M. Gammeltoft, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

The Promise of Prosperity  »

Visions of the Future in Timor-Leste

Edited by: Judith Bovensiepen
Publication date: December 2018
For the people of Timor-Leste, independence promised a fundamental transformation from foreign occupation to self-rule, from brutality to respect for basic rights, and from poverty to prosperity. In the eyes of the country’s political leaders, revenue from the country’s oil and gas reserves is the means by which that transformation could be effected. Over the past decade, they have formulated ambitious plans for state-led development projects and rapid economic growth. Paradoxically, these modernist visions are simultaneously informed by and contradict ideas stemming from custom, religion, accountability and responsibility to future generations. This book explores how the promise of prosperity informs policy and how policy debates shape expectations about the future in one of the world’s newest and poorest nation-states.

Indigenous Efflorescence »

Beyond Revitalisation in Sapmi and Ainu Mosir

Publication date: December 2018
Indigenous efflorescence refers to the surprising economic prosperity, demographic increase and cultural renaissance currently found amongst many Indigenous communities around the world. This book moves beyond a more familiar focus on ‘revitalisation’ to situate these developments within their broader political and economic contexts. The materials in this volume also examine the everyday practices and subjectivities of Indigenous efflorescence and how these exist in tension with ongoing colonisation of Indigenous lands, and the destabilising impacts of global neoliberal capitalism. Contributions to this volume include both research articles and shorter case studies, and are drawn from amongst the Ainu and Sami (Saami/Sámi) peoples (in Ainu Mosir in northern Japan, and Sapmi in northern Europe, respectively). This volume will be of use to scholars working on contemporary Indigenous issues, as well as to Indigenous peoples engaged in linguistic and cultural revitalisation, and other aspects of Indigenous efflorescence.

The Bounty from the Beach »

Cross-Cultural and Cross-Disciplinary Essays

Publication date: October 2018
The Bounty from the Beach is a collection of cross-disciplinary essays, capitalising on a widely shared fascination for the Bounty story in order to draw scholarly attention to Oceania. It aims to reorient the Bounty focus away from the West, where most Bounty narratives and studies have emerged, to the Pacific, where most of the original events unfolded. It investigates the Bounty heritage from the standpoint of the beach, Greg Dening’s metaphor for culture contact and conflict in the Pacific Islands: this liminal place that transforms Islanders and voyagers, islands and ships, each time it is crossed. It analyses the way newcomers create new islands, and how these changes may occasionally impact the world. This volume examines the ‘little people’, to use another of Dening’s expressions, who stand ‘on both sides of the beach’: they are Polynesian or European or, as beaches are crossed and remade, no longer one without the other, but bound together in processes of change. Among these people are Bounty sailors, beachcombers, Pitcairners and indigenous Pacific Islanders of the past and the present. This collection also explores the works of some renowned Western writers and actors who, turning mutineers after their own fashion and in their own times, themselves crossed the beach and attempted to illuminate the ‘little people’ involved in the Bounty narratives. These prominent writers and actors put the spotlight on characters who were silenced on account of race, class or geographical distance from the dominant centres of power. Inspired by Dening’s empowering voice, our purpose is to fill that silence. Just as it criss-crosses the ocean, progressing with the ship through time and space, The Bounty from the Beach ranges far and wide across disciplines, methodologies and scholarly styles. Its multidisciplinary course contributes to illuminate the multiple ways in which the Bounty heritage embraces diverse horizons. It throws light on the colonial discourse that undertook to stifle Pacific Islander agency, and the neocolonial policies that have been applied to Oceania, and still are: hegemonic moves that have led to global environmental, nuclear and ecological hazards. As a whole, the collection contends that what unfolds in this vast ocean matters: the stakes are high for the whole human community.

Human Ecology Review: Volume 24, Number 1 »

Publication date: September 2018
Human Ecology Review is a semi-annual journal that publishes peer-reviewed interdisciplinary research on all aspects of human–environment interactions (Research in Human Ecology). The journal also publishes essays, discussion papers, dialogue, and commentary on special topics relevant to human ecology (Human Ecology Forum), book reviews (Contemporary Human Ecology), and letters, announcements, and other items of interest (Human Ecology Bulletin). Human Ecology Review also publishes an occasional paper series in the Philosophy of Human Ecology and Social–Environmental Sustainability.

Divided Loyalties »

Displacement, belonging and citizenship among East Timorese in West Timor

Authored by: Andrey Damaledo
Publication date: September 2018
Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this study explores the ideas of belonging and citizenship among former pro-autonomy East Timorese who have elected to settle indefinitely in West Timor. The study follows different East Timorese groups and examines various ways they construct and negotiate their socio-political identities following the violent and destructive separation from their homeland. The East Timorese might have had Indonesia as their destination when they left the eastern half of the island in the aftermath of the referendum, but they have not relinquished their cultural identities as East Timorese. The study highlights the significance of the notions of origin, ancestry and alliance in our understanding of East Timorese place-making and belonging to a particular locality. Another feature of belonging that informs East Timorese identity is their narrative of sacrifice to maintain connections with their homeland and move on with their lives in Indonesia. These sacrificial narratives elaborate an East Timorese spirit of struggle and resilience, a feature further exemplified in the transformation of their political activities within the Indonesian political system.

Read till it shatters »

Nationalism and identity in modern Thai literature

Authored by: Thak Chaloemtiarana
Publication date: August 2018
This book introduces readers to modern Thai literature through the themes of modernity, nationalism, identity and gender. In the cultural, political and social transformations that occurred in Thailand during the first half of the twentieth century, Thai literature was one of the vehicles that moved the changes. Taking seriously ‘read till it shatters’, a Thai phrase that instructs readers to take apart the text, to break it down, to deconstruct it, Thak Chaloemtiarana challenges the Thai literary canon from the margins and suggests ways of expanding and enriching it. Thai literature is scarce in translation and requires the skills of a scholar fluent in Thai to comprehend it. Thak is a political scientist turned literary scholar who is bilingual in Thai and English and an avid reader of Thai fiction by authors up and down the social scale. Here he offers lively insights into his favourite literary genres with fresh readings of early Thai novels, Sino-Thai biographies and memoirs of the rich and famous. ‘Thak Chaloemtiarana is an inquisitive man. Late in his career he switched from politics to literature. In these chapters, he draws on a lifetime of reading about writers and writing in Thailand over the past century. He nods towards the usual big names—King Vajiravudh, Luang Wichit, Kulap Saipradit, Kukrit Pramoj—but spends more time on those found in the lesser visited stacks of the libraries, the secondhand bookstalls, and the shelf by the supermarket checkout. His themes are familiar—Thailand and the West, Thai nationalism, the Thai-Chinese, and women under patriarchy—but the angles of vision are original. With a cast ranging from motor-racing princes through sexy Egyptian mummies and a feminist serial murderer to starlets touting breast-enhancement techniques, this book educates, enlightens, and entertains.’ — Dr Chris Baker, Bangkok-based author with Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Ayutthaya (Cambridge 2017)