Politics and State Building in Solomon Islands

Politics and State Building in Solomon Islands

Edited by: Sinclair Dinnen orcid, Stewart Firth orcid

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Politics and State Building in Solomon Islands examines a crisis moment in recent Solomon Islands history. Contributors examine what happened when unrest engulfed the capital of the small Melanesian country in the aftermath of the 2006 national elections, and consider what these events show about the Solomon Islands political system, the influence of Asian interests in business and politics, and why the crisis is best understood in the context of the country’s volatile blend of traditional and modern politics.

Until the disturbances of April 2006 and subsequent deterioration in bilateral relations between Australia and Solomon Islands under the Sogavare government, experts had hailed the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as an unqualified success. Some saw it as a model for ‘cooperative intervention’ in ‘failing states’ worldwide. Following these developments success seems less certain and aspects of the RAMSI model appear flawed.

Using the case of Solomon Islands, this book raises fundamental questions about the nature of ‘cooperative intervention’ as a vehicle for state building, asking whether it should be construed as a mainly technical endeavour or whether it is unavoidably a political undertaking with political consequences. Providing a critical but balanced analysis, Politics and State Building in Solomon Islands has important implications for the wider debate about international state-building interventions in ‘failed’ and ‘failing’ states.



ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
May 2008
ANU Press
Asia Pacific Press
Arts & Humanities: Cultural Studies; Social Sciences: Development Studies, Politics & International Studies
Australia; Pacific: Solomon Islands

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Politics and State Building in Solomon Islands »

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State building

  1. Dilemmas of intervention and the building of state and nation (PDF, 281KB)Sinclair Dinnen doi


  1. Politics of disorder: the social unrest in Honiara (PDF, 211KB)Matthew Allen doi
  2. No more walkabout long Chinatown: Asian involvement in the economic and political process (PDF, 301KB)Clive Moore doi

Elections and Political Process

  1. Westminster meets Solomons in the Honiara riots (PDF, 215KB)Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka doi
  2. Rainbows across the mountains: the first post–RAMSI general elections (PDF, 389KB)Sam Alasia doi
  3. The impact of RAMSI on the 2006 elections (PDF, 288KB)Jon Fraenkel doi


  1. RAMSI–the way ahead (PDF, 107KB)Mary-Louise O’Callaghan doi

Provincial Perspectives

  1. Kastom and theocracy: a reflection on governance from the uttermost part of the world (PDF, 217KB)Jaap Timmer doi
  2. The coup nobody noticed: the Solomon Islands Western State movement in 2000 (PDF, 268KB)Ian Scales doi
  3. Crisis in Solomon Islands: foraging for new directions (PDF, 213KB)Transform Aqorau doi

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