Elites and the Modern State in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
How do religious and political elites in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands see the modern state? This thesis addresses this question. The thesis shows that these two countries do not fit with the ideal structure of the modern state provided here. This is despite the state building efforts of Australia as the two countries largest aid donor. It shows that there are a number of ways that the state can be seen by elites. Amongst both groups of elites can the state can be seen by some as something for the security and betterment of the population. It can be seen as a structure to oppose by some religious groups. Other religious leaders see the state as a partner for the development of both countries. Political elites can see keeping the state weak as being beneficial to finance its operations. Some leaders see the state as an item of capture. It finds that though religious leaders have generally good intentions for the state, they are limited in their authority and influence. The thesis also finds that though political elites are much more important than religious elites in shaping the state, their role is limited by and tied to the people. It finds that the two societies are extremely fragmented and competitive with many differing interests. This leads to the state being seen as an item of competition. This competition does not create the conditions that the state as a structure depends on to reach its ideal form. It concludes that for the state to succeed in both countries there needs to be a shift in attitude towards it.