Associate Professor Barbara is Head of ANU’s Department of Pacific Affairs (formerly State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program) and Deputy Team Leader of the DFAT-funded Pacific Research Program. A political economist and development expert specialising in politics, democracy and governance in the Pacific, he has conducted research on political and social change across the Pacific including in the areas of elections, political participation, public policy, governance and institutional reform, leadership, gender and urbanisation. He has significant foreign and aid policy experience, having worked in various roles for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) since 2000, including as a diplomat posted to the European Union (2002-2004) and Director of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Machinery of Government Program (2011-12). He has a strong understanding of how research can support policy development and has consulted for government and the private sector including several projects on elections, governance and developmental leadership.
Pacific Attitudes Survey (co-Investigator with Michael Leach)
This project will support the establishment of a Pacific-wide Pacific Attitudes Survey which will produce large-scale quantitative data on popular political attitudes to democracy, governance and social change that can be used to support research and policy activities across the region. The project has a strong capacity-building and policy impact focus, with a view to addressing data poverty issues in the Pacific by establishing a Pacific-wide survey infrastructure. The pilot PAS will be delivered in Samoa in late 2020, in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology and the National University of Samoa.
Rethinking political participation in the Pacific (co-investigator with Kerryn Baker)
The standard research framing of Pacific politics, centred on the operation of formal democratic institutions and political elites, fails to account fully for the myriad ways in which non-elite Pacific Islanders experience and relate to politics in their daily lives. This scholarly approach results in limited engagement with informal sites of politics and non-elite engagement with these sites. What is missing is a research approach that focuses on how ordinary people actively and purposefully participate in politics in the region, and what it means for Pacific Islanders to be citizens who participate in politics. This research program adopts a methodologically plural, cross-regional approach incorporating political ethnography, and quantitative and qualitative analysis. The project will result in a series of case study and other research activities, leading to the submission of a research monograph in 2021.
Projects and Grants
Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.
Pacific Research Program (Secondary Investigator)
Baker, K & Barbara, J 2020, ‘Revisiting the Concept of Political Participation in the Pacific’, Pacific Affairs, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 135-155.
Barbara, J & Baker, K 2020, ‘Addressing collective action problems in Melanesia: the Northern Islands Market Vendors’ Association in Vanuatu’, Development in Practice, vol. Online, no. -, pp. 1-11.
Barbara, J & Keen, M 2018, ‘Urbanisation in Melanesia: The politics of change’, Development Bulletin (Canberra), vol. 78, pp. 16-19.
Barbara, J & Walsh, L 2017, ‘Realising the Potential of Universities as Significant Development Actors in Post-conflict Societies: A Case Study of the Solomon Islands National University’, Forum for Development Studies, pp. pp 1-23.
Barbara, J 2017, ‘Studying Policy from the Ground Up: The Solomon Islands Case’, in Nicholas Farrelly, Amy King, Michael Wesley and Hugh White (ed.), Muddy Boots & Smart Suits: Researching Asia-Pacific Affairs, ISEAS Publishing, Singapore, pp. 13-27pp..
Keen, M, Barbara, J, Carpenter, J et al 2017, Urban Development in Honiara: Harnessing Opportunities, Embracing Change. SSGM Report. Canberra: Australian National University. Barbara, J & Baker, K 2016, Improving the Electoral Chances of Pacific Women through an Evidence-Based Approach.
Barbara, J 2016, ‘Nation-Building and the Development Case for Cultural Heritage: Solomon Islands’, in K. Reeves, G.R. Bird, L. James, B. Stichelbaut and J. Bourgeois (ed.), Battlefield Events: Landscape, Commemoration and Heritage, Routledge, London, Abingdon, pp. 235-247.
Barbara, J, Keen, M & Carpenter, J 2016, ‘IB2016/32 Visions for Henderson: A Workshop on Managing Peri-Urban Growth in Solomon Islands’.
Barbara, J 2016, ‘IB2016/38 Improving Women’s Electoral Chances through an Evidence-Based Approach: Donor Approaches to Supporting Women Candidates in the Pacific’.
Barbara, J & Keen, M 2016, IB 2016.9 Urban Politics in Melanesia: Shallow Roots.
Barbara, J & McMahon, H 2015, PACIFIC REGIONAL YOUTH EMPLOYMENT SCAN.
Keen, M & Barbara, J 2015, ‘IB201⅚4 Pacific Urbanisation: Changing Times’.
Barbara, J 2015, ‘IB201⅚9 Supporting Elections in Melanesia’.
Barbara, J & Walsh, L 2015, ‘IB2015/3 Should Donors Support the Solomon Islands National University?’.
Barbara, J, Cox, J & Leach, M 2015, ‘The Emergent Middle Classes in Timor-Leste and Melanesia: Conceptual Issues and Developmental Significance’, State Society and Governance in Melanesia Discussion Paper 2015, no. 4, pp. 1-22.
Barbara, J 2014, ‘From Intervention to Partnership-Prospects for Development Partnership in Solomon Islands after the RAMSI’, Asia & The Pacific Policy Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 395-408.
Barbara, J & connell, w 2014, ‘IB2014/11 Political Settlements and Effective Democratic Governance Programming in Melanesia | Political Settlement: Part 2’.
Cox, J, Barbara, J & Leach, M 2014, ‘IB201⅘7 Emerging Middle Classes in Timor-Leste and Melanesia: Implications for Development and Democracy’.
Barbara, J, Ingram, S, Porter, D et al 2014, ‘The role of donors in supporting political settlements in Melanesia - Political development stream | Political settlements- evaluating a new concept in development thinking’, 2014 State of the Pacific Conference, Australian National University, Australia.
Barbara, J & Haley, N 2014, Analytical Framework to Engage with Developmental Leadership in the Pacific.
Barbara, J, Cox, J & Leach, M 2014, Emerging Middle Classes in Timor-Leste and Melanesia: Implications for Development and Democracy.
Barbara, J 2013, ‘The Limits of Institutional Reform in Development: Changing Rules for Realistic Solutions - Matt Andrews’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 72, no. 4, pp. 485-486.
Barbara, J. 2013, ‘Post-Statebuilding: The Australian Experience in Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands’ in D. Chandler and R. Sisk (eds.), Routledge Hanbook of International Statebuilding, Routledge: London
Barbara, J. 2008, ‘Antipodean Statebuilding: The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and Australian Intervention in the South Pacific’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 2(2), June: 123-149
Barbara, J. 2008, ‘Rethinking Neo-liberal State Building: Building Post-Conflict Development States’, Development in Practice, 18(3), June: 307-317
Barbara, J. 2006, ‘Nation Building and the Role of the Private Sector as a Political Peace-Builder’, Conflict, Security and Development, 6(4), December: 581-594 Walsh, L. and Barbara, J. 2006, ‘Speed, International Security and New War Coverage in Cyber-Space’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(1), October (available at http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue1/)
Barbara, J. and Gahan, P. 2000, ‘Compliments or Substitutes? Taxation, Social Welfare and Labour Market Regulation: An Industrial Relations Perspective on the “Five Economists” Plan’, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 11(1), June: 8-45