Accounts of male urban youth within Solomon Islands, like much of Melanesia, frequently tend towards apocryphal depictions of listless, troublesome and disengaged young men. Similar to other post-conflict, developing states, a large and growing cohort of undereducated and underemployed urban males is often associated with prospective instability and violence. However, few studies in Melanesia have attempted to transfer to the page the rich, grounded, candid, and often contradictory, stories of young male urbanites. This thesis proposal seminar, detailing Daniel’s proposed research project, is concerned with male youth resident in Honiara’s squatter settlements. The research proposes to engage not only the quotidian aspects of their day-to-day lives, but will document their beliefs, aspirations, actions and motivations, seeking to understand how they interact with and position themselves vis-à-vis their family, peer group, community, society and state. This will include an effort to assess the likelihood of future civic conflict (violent conflict which occurs in the urban environment) linked to feelings of marginalisation and exclusion, but also more broadly to track young male’s feelings towards their nation and their sense of national identity. The project will engage with a number of theoretical frameworks drawn from urban theory, conflict studies, human geography, youth and development studies, and anthropology.
Speaker: Daniel Evans