In this article we review the edited book “Mapping Security in the Pacific: A Focus on Context, Gender, and Organizational Culture” by Sara Amin, Danielle Watson, and Christian Girard. In this article members of the Urban Oceania Reading Group review three chapters of this edited book offering their additional thoughts. Generally, the articles of the edited book not only consider the diverse and emerging threats to Pacific security, but it effectively considers the globally interconnected nature and theoretical underpinning of these security threats.
All posts by “Lucas Watt”
Journal Article Review of Scheyvens, et al. (2019), “Business Serves Society: Successful Locally-Driven Development on Customary Land in the South Pacific”.
Over the last week the Urban Oceania Reading Group came together to discuss an article by Scheyven et al. (2019) “Business Serves Society: Successful Locally-Driven Development on Customary Land in the South Pacific”. We were motivated to discuss and write about this article because our conversations on other academic articles often return to how customary land ownership interacts with local development. Scheyvens et al. (2019) articulates narratives of indigenous entrepreneurs who are able to successfully work within the context of customary land tenure to produce business that are a) economically profitable and b) beneficial for the surrounding local community. Scheyvens et al. (2019) with its focus on local voice is uniquely positioned within the customary land tenure / development debate to consider how customary tenure can be worked with specifically for the betterment of local communities in Oceania. In this article we continue to review how Scheyvens et al. (2019) address this topic adding in our own personal academic knowledge and perspectives.
Journal Article Review of Sheng, F., & Smith, G. (2021). The Shifting Fate of China’s Pacific Diaspora.
In this article we review Sheng and Smith’s (2021) chapter, The Shifting Fate of China’s Pacific Diaspora in the edited book The China Alternative: Changing Regional Order in the Pacific Islands. Roxane de Waegh engages with Sheng and Smith’s (2021) material on the founding of a Chinese diaspora in the Pacific in the colonial period through to the independence period. She, like the authors, argues that through competition and gaps in authority in colonial administration of Pacific colonies, Chinese settlers were able to carve out successful trading livelihoods in the region. Lucas Watt assess the degree of migrational continuity of the Chinese diaspora in the Pacific. He argues while there is certainly an under-appreciated migrational continuity of Chinese migration in the Pacific, it is nonetheless a loose continuity. In this review he explores the geopolitical implications of the the perceived and real migrational continuity of Chinese in the Pacific.
Journal Article Review of Klepp and Herbeck (2016) The politics of Environmental Migration and Climate Justice in the Pacific Region.
In the context of global climate change, remote coastal communities are generally regarded as the most vulnerable (Uitto & Shaw, 2016). This observation arises from the combined effects of their low income, high levels of resource dependency and their exposure to sea-level rise, rainfall variability, increase in storm frequencies and intensity (Cinner et al., 2018). In this article, Klepp and Herbeck (2016) first analyse how environmental migration is discussed in the Pacific region by providing a short overview of the academic debate on the environment-migration nexus. In the second section, the article uncovers the increasing complex decision-making processes and development of policies and laws to address environmental migrants in the Pacific region. By concentrating on emerging developments in policies and rights for environmental migrants in the global south, the authors avoid the often criticized victimizing perspective on Pacific islands and climate change adaptation (Farbokto, 2010), focusing instead on the agency of the people in the Pacific who are fighting for their futures. This article review agrees with the authors’ approach, also known as the ‘autonomy of migration approach’, and will focus on the role of human agency and social capital to further demonstrate how adaptation strategies are inseparably connected to ideas about climate justice, unequal North-South relationships, and attempts to cope with colonial heritage.
Journal Article Review of Maclellan, N. (2021) Stable, Democratic and Western: China and French Colonialism in the Pacific
Maclellan’s (2021) chapter, Stable Democratic and Western: China and French Colonialism in the Pacific, is part of Smith & Wesley-Smith (2021) edited book The China Alternative: Changing Regional Order in the Pacific Islands. The edited book as a whole brings together a collection of scholars who analyze China’s growing involvement in the Pacific. The edited book is a welcome addition as it approaches the topic in a measured way that contrasts to prior literature that is often hyperbolic and hysterical about Chinese influence. Maclellan’s (2021) chapter is particularly refined in the sense that it analyses Chinese interest in the region in a context of the continued French colonial legacy in the Pacific. This colonial legacy invariably affects how Chinese interest and ambition in the region is pursued in the region. It also affects how Chinese interest is responded to by France, other western states, and Pacific states. Overall, Maclellan (2021) paints a obstructionist and self-interested Francophone picture which Chinese and Pacific Island non-state actors navigate to progress local interests. It puts the notion of a “stable, democratic and western” Pacific into a more critical perspective.
Journal Article Review of Bertram, G. (2018) Why Does the Cook Islands Still Need Overseas Aid?
You get exactly whats on the tin for Bertram’s (2018) article, Why does the Cook Islands Still Need Overseas Aid? He asks, in a context where the private sector revolving around tourism is booming(at least prior to COVID-19), why would the Cook Islands require large amounts of Overseas Development Aid (ODA)? In 2018, the Cook Islands received close to 80 million dollars worth of grant aid. Bertram (2018) attributes the need for overseas aid on austerity measures that were enforced onto the Cook Islands in the structural readjustment period of the 1990s. Specifically, the Cook Islands were forced into a policy by the New Zealand government and the Asian Development Bank in 1998 whereby tax revenue should not exceed 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This has left the Cook Islands with a very small revenue pool to draw upon to service its expenses which consistently stand at 40% of GDP. Overseas aid is currently relied upon to service this gap in national revenue and expenses which limits what the Cook Island’s can do fiscally, as well as limits their general national autonomy. In this review we explore some thoughts which Bertram’s (2018) article has inspired.
Journal Article Review of Rooney, M. N. (2021). “We Want Development”: Land and Water (Dis) connections in Port Moresby, Urban Papua New Guinea.
Living in an informal settlement is common in Oceania. High rates of rural-urban migration and poor housing policy forces many to live on customary land on the peripheries of the Oceanic city. There is a great variance in how life is experienced within informal settlements in Oceania, however, informal settlement residents across the region have experienced some form of infrastructural exclusion in some form. What we mean by infrastructural exclusion in informal settlements is that one or more of the formal infrastructural services like water, electricity, garbage disposal, access to education and healthcare, are not provided to residents by their national governments. Anthropologists have begun to argue that denial to infrastructural services is akin to a denial of urban citizenship (Ranganathan, 2014; Rodgers & O’Neill, 2012; Von Schnitzler, 2008). Here we review the latest addition to this literature by Rooney (2021) and her article We Want Development”: Land and Water (Dis) connections in Port Moresby, Urban Papua New Guinea.
Journal Article Review of Bossen, C (2000). Festival Mania, Tourism and Nation Building in Fiji: The Case of the Hibiscus Festival.
Tourism is now widely acknowledged to be a global phenomenon. The world population has grown rapidly, and improved standards of living have allowed more and more people to participate in tourism. There is a strong hunger for new destinations that require people to travel further, due to loss of authenticity, a desire to be original, or a longing for escape. Tourists have become much more demanding, expecting higher accommodation standards and engaging in increasingly energy intensive activities. Societies around the world have transformed into consumer-based entities, and international tourism often means that cultural differences are part of the attraction, and that cultural items are the center of the tourist gaze (Urry, 1990). Furthermore, the global tourism industry suffers from planned obsolescence – a condition in which a consumer good rapidly becomes obsolete and thus constantly requires replacement, or frequent changes. But what happens when this consumer good is a host country’s cultural identity, and the tourist product is consumed at the place it is produced?
Journal Article Review of Voyer, et al (2018). “Shades of Blue: What do Competing Interpretations of the Blue Economy Mean for Oceans Governance?”
Just like the green economy, the blue economy has a triple bottom line of environmental sustainability, social equity, and economic growth. This broad concept of blue economy is starting to be used by a diverse array of social, political, and environmental actors, across different regions of the world; however what is also clear is that depending on who is using or applying the term there is also a diverse array of emphasis on which one of these objectives are the most important in relation to the others. It is this context of conceptual variability that different actors emphasize within the term we analyze Voyer et al (2018), “Shades of Blue: what do competing interpretations of the blue economy mean for oceans governance?”.
Journal Article Review of Tilot, et al. (2021), “Traditional Dimensions of Seabed Resource Management in the Context of Deep-Sea Mining in the Pacific”.
Tilot, et al. (2021), “Traditional dimensions of seabed resource management in the context of Deep-Sea Mining in the Pacific”, provides a level of depth to some of the current issues and concepts concerning deep-sea mining in the Pacific. It analyses how traditional knowledge and values are incorporated, ignored, or misrepresented in emerging deep-sea legal frameworks which mining companies must navigate. This review analyses how Tilot, et al. (2021) characterize and bridge the relationship between traditional knowledge/values and legal frameworks applied to the ocean.