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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2024
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Book description

Stephanie Lawson's book is by far the most comprehensive study of regional politics in Oceania produced to date. Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary sources, she provides a systematic account of major issues facing the region and presents conceptual and theoretical issues in a sophisticated but accessible manner. She traces the trajectories of regional politics from the earliest human settlements to European exploration and colonization, the period of formal regionalization in the post-war period, decolonization, the Cold War, and key geopolitical developments in the post-Cold War period. She also focuses on identity politics, manifest at various levels from the local through to the national, subregional and regional, as well as broader configurations around the West/non-West divide. This book will be of interest to anyone engaged with the history and politics of Oceania or comparative regional studies, especially given the relevance of themes to Asian, African and Latin American contexts.


‘The breadth and depth of Stephanie Lawson's knowledge makes this comprehensive survey of the modern Pacific Islands a valuable resource for all scholars of this unique region. Her careful engagement with the wider, global literature on key themes such as regional identity, decolonisation, and development positions Pacific Island nations in wider IR discourse and offers fertile ground for comparative studies at a time when Pacific small island state perspectives are increasingly prominent on the world stage.’

Paul D'Arcy - Professor, Department of Pacific Affairs, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

‘Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Pacific regionalism.’

Jon Fraenkel - Professor of Comparative Politics, Department of Political Science & International Relations, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

‘An extremely comprehensive and insightful book, which unpacks and connects very significant historical and political developments in the Pacific in a meticulous and enlightening way. A recommended reader for Pacific regional politics.’

Steven Ratuva - Distinguished Professor, Pro-Vice Chancellor Pacific, and Director, Macmillan Brown Center for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

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  • 1 - Oceania and the Study of Regions
    pp 1-32


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