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State Building or Crisis Management? A critical analysis of the social and political implications of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands

Hameiri, S. (2009) State Building or Crisis Management? A critical analysis of the social and political implications of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. Third World Quarterly, 30 (1). pp. 35-52.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436590802622276
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Abstract

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (ramsi), an Australian-led state-building intervention, has attracted considerable attention in policy-making and scholarly circles world-wide since its July 2003 inception. ramsi was lauded by the Development Assistant Committee of the oecd as a model for good practice to be followed by state builders elsewhere because of its perceived success in halting violent conflict and fostering a return to economic growth. The mission has had its critics too, but much of this criticism has centred on whether it was paying sufficient attention to the Melanesian social and cultural context. Such accounts fail to recognise that ramsi should not be viewed as a technocratic exercise in state building and capacity development by outsiders, but rather as a political project that seeks to transform the social and political relations within the Solomon Islands. This contribution critically examines the nature of this political project by focusing on the ways in which political power is (re)produced. By attempting to narrow the political choices available to Solomon Islanders, ramsi's programmes have ended up limiting the prospects for a sustainable political accommodation to emerge in the Solomon Islands. The deployment of coercive force in moments of acute crisis, as a way of managing the contradictions of attempts to build a 'state' through the production and reproduction of social and political power conducive to this project, reveals that rather than being a recipe for 'good' governance, ramsi remains a form of emergency rule.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7986
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