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Greed and GrievanceEx-Militants' Perspectives on the Conflict in Solomon Islands, 1998-2003$
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Matthew G. Allen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838546

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838546.001.0001

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The State, Resources, Identity, and Conflict

The State, Resources, Identity, and Conflict

(p.178) Chapter 7 The State, Resources, Identity, and Conflict
Greed and Grievance

Matthew G. Allen

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter challenges accounts that link the conflict in Solomon Islands to the greed and criminality of those who participated in it, arguing that they confound our understanding of its deeper causes. By focusing on the testimonies of ex-militants and their contextualization in both the socioeconomic history of the nation and the ethnographic present, the chapter shows that the men who joined the militant groups were motivated by the historical grievances of the peoples of Malaita and Guadalcanal, including what they believe are their social and economic deprivation relative to other Solomon Islanders and relative to people in other parts of the world. Such motives were influenced by the Malaita and Guadalcanal peoples' long tradition of resistance to the perceived imposition of the state upon local sovereignty over kastom law, land, and resources. The focus on greed and criminality also obfuscates the importance of cultural factors in the conflict, such as the enduring role of retribution in Melanesian societies and the value given to particular types of violent male behavior in particular social contexts.

Keywords:   conflict, Solomon Islands, greed, criminality, ex-militants, grievance, Malaita, Guadalcanal, retribution, resources

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