Information and Communication Technologies in Melanesia: Building a Research Community

Event details


Date & time

Monday 20 April 2015


Seminar Room 3, Level 1, JG Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU
ANU Canberra



Sarah Logan


Striking statistics and anecdotes aside, we know very little about the political and social impacts of new information and communication technologies in Melanesia. We know, for example, that PNG's mobile phone penetration has increased from approximately 2% to over 35% in under ten years. We know that in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Fiji social media is an important political campaigning tool. We know about increasing use of mobile banking and of the increasing use of M4D approaches in the region, and we know that concerns about new ICTs as a threat to traditional values are shared across Melanesia. These snippets suggest substantial changes in the region and offer a tantalising glimpse of opportunities for research which feed into larger questions in anthropology, communications and political science.

This informal workshop aims to establish a cross-disciplinary research community concerning the political and social impact of new information and communication technologies in Melanesia, with a view to establishing an active email list and encouraging Melanesian ICT-led panels on future conferences of all stripes. The State, Society and Governance in Melanesia program at the ANU is pleased to host this inaugural workshop and welcomes the participation of Professor Robert Foster, Professor and Chair of Anthropology and Professor of Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, and Associate Professor Heather Horst, Director of the Digital Ethnography Research Centre in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

Presentations over the 2 days will be informal, of about 20 minutes each, with room for extensive discussion. They will cover such topics as ICT and protest in PNG, ICT and modernity in Melanesia, online research methods, possibly the impact of mobile phones in labour mobility in the region. M4D in PNG, and digital ethnographic methods. Suggestions for presentations are welcome €“ just send through a short abstract to

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