West Papua, Indonesia and the Melanesian Spearhead Group

competing logics in regional and international politics

Stephanie Lawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The idea of a shared Melanesian identity has been consolidated over the last three decades or so through the most important subregional organisation in the South-West Pacific—the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The solidarity of this group has been strained over various issues from time to time, but none is as fraught as the Indonesian occupation of what is commonly known as West Papua, whose indigenous Papuan people are ethnically Melanesian. In addition to recounting the Indonesian takeover of West Papua in the context of the dynamics of decolonisation, the Cold War and early regional development, the article examines the emergence of Melanesian identity and the MSG, before considering more recent developments. These focus on a recent bid by West Papuans for MSG membership, key aspects of Indonesia's role in the Melanesian subregion, and the extent to which these developments highlight competing logics in regional and international politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-524
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Volume70
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • identity politics
  • Indonesia
  • Melanesia
  • Pacific Islands
  • regionalism
  • West Papua

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'West Papua, Indonesia and the Melanesian Spearhead Group: competing logics in regional and international politics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this