Urban Oceania

Exploring Urban Social Change in Oceania

Reading Group Summary: September 7th, 2020

Article Discussed: Suliman, S., Farbotko, C., Ransan-Cooper, H., Elizabeth McNamara, K., Thornton, F., McMichael, C., & Kitara, T. (2019). Indigenous (im)mobilities in the Anthropocene. Mobilities, 14(3), 298-318.

Lucas Watt

Summary: Suliman et al (2019) analyses Pacific people’s resistance to climate change inaction. They argue that Pacific resistance embodies a form of “insurgent cosmopolitanism”. It is “cosmopolitan” in the sense that there is a broad consensus within the region that climate change is an imminent threat that needs to be addressed. This has coalesced into a movement that binds together a broad community that includes everyday Pacific people, activists, artists, and scientists. This form of resistance is also “insurgent” in the sense that it draws from non-imperialist, counter hegemonic cultural values in the search for climate change solutions. Such “insurgent cosmopolitanism” seeks to address climate change inaction by global governance institutions by elevating Pacific voices who offer a more personal, empathetic, and culturally rooted approach to climate change. In response to this idea in Suliman et al (2019), the reading group discussed the immense value of Pacific ways of knowing, communicating, and adapting to climate change, which are currently marginalized within the climate change discourse.


  • Lucas Watt

    I am a Post-Doctoral researcher on the ERC-funded TransOcean Project at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Norway. My portion of the project sets out to analyze maritime mobilities, exchange, and conservation, in the increasingly securitised region of Oceania. I graduated with a PhD from the School of Media and Communications at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University. My ethnographic fieldwork in Suva Fiji analyses how rural-urban migrants living in “informal settlements” articulate tradition in urban spaces.

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