Searching for Melanesian urbanity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter investigates the possibility and nature of a comparative Melanesian urbanity especially in towns such as Port Moresby, Port Vila and Honiara that no longer reflect the administrative, social and cultural preoccupations of their former dominant colonial populations. The colonial administrative centres established in Melanesia in the late nineteenth century were small groups of European-style houses, stores and offices. The ethno-linguistic diversity of Melanesia is considerable: the number of indigenous languages spoken in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, West Papua, Solomon Islands, Torres Strait Islands and New Caledonia together has been estimated to be around 1,400. In discussions of contemporary Melanesian cultural diversity, the politics of tradition, the effects of capitalism and the rise of individualism are familiar issues. A contemporary echo of the colonial apprehension and attempted control or exclusion of an unruly underclass can be found in Port Moresby.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Melanesian world
EditorsEric Hirsch, Will Rollason
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315529691
ISBN (Print)9781138693715
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameThe Routledge Worlds


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