Abstract: Contemporary analysis of Pacific Islands regionalism is commonly focused on the institutional realm and examines how frameworks of regional governance have evolved and been strengthened. This article, by contrast, provides insight into the less well understood political content of more informal modes of Pacific Islands regional integration. In particular, it examines Pacific women's regional peacebuilding collaborations since the 1960s and 1970s. It demonstrates the political impact of Pacific women's collective responses to conflict in the region during the past forty years while also discussing the varying nature of this activity over time. Consideration is therefore given both to Pacific women's differing conceptual approaches to peacebuilding and to the differing geopolitical scope of their regional peacebuilding networks. The significance of this discussion is two-fold. First, this research provides insight into the history of "bottom-up" forms of regional engagement in the Pacific, a realm of political activity that might, if more broadly recognized, positively complement existing programs that aim to secure future security in the Pacific through regional institutional consolidation. Second, it challenges conventional perspectives on women and peacebuilding that tend to suggest that women respond to conflict in ways that are singular, homogenous, and marginal to the political mainstream.
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 26, 2011