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.
|Title of host publication||The Melanesian world|
|Editors||Eric Hirsch, Will Rollason|
|Place of Publication||London ; New York|
|Publisher||Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Name||The Routledge Worlds|