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Journal Article

A brief history of political instability in Vanuatu


Lavender Forsyth,  Guy A.       
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Lavender Forsyth, G. A., & Atkinson, Q. D. (2024). A brief history of political instability in Vanuatu. Anthropological Forum, 1-26. doi:10.1080/00664677.2024.2346190.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000F-46FA-9
Vanuatu has largely avoided the political violence seen elsewhere in Melanesia in the recent past. It has a small but successful tourist economy, based on its selling point as a tropical paradise. It has powerful cultural resources, in the form of Christianity and kastom, to bind its people together with a sense of belonging from a shared past and hope for a shared future. Vanuatu also has a well-earnt reputation for political fragmentation and instability, a topic which can raise strong emotions both inside Vanuatu and out. Our brief history of political instability in Vanuatu aims to put the present political situation into broader perspective by tracing different elements of instability over time. Our approach is informed primarily by the historical and ethnographic record itself and, rather than focusing narrowly on the splits and intrigues of political parties, we try to provide the broader sociocultural context from which Vanuatu’s party politics emerged and that which it operates within. We thereby attempt to highlight the interconnections that exist between different forms of instability, political, religious, cultural, and otherwise. © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.