If Everyone Returned, The Island Would Sink: Urbanisation and Migration in Vanuatu | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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If Everyone Returned, The Island Would Sink: Urbanisation and Migration in Vanuatu

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Volume 7

Pacific Perspectives: Studies of the European Society for Oceanists

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If Everyone Returned, The Island Would Sink

Urbanisation and Migration in Vanuatu

Kirstie Petrou

214 pages, 36 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-621-0 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (February 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-622-7 eBook


View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Petrou provides a highly useful and informed work on the experiences of Paamese over three decades, looking at both continuities and changes. The specific attention she gives to gender differences in the way these experiences unfold, as well as to the careful transcription of Paamese’s ambivalent feelings and the detailed analysis of their economic opportunities and situations, makes If Everyone Returned, the Island Would Sink a great read not only for scholars working on urbanization and migration issues in what she calls the ‘Global South’, but also for everyone interested in Melanesian contemporary lives and ethnographies.” • Pacific History

“This is an excellent study of rural/urban migration in the Western Pacific… well-written, free of jargon while scholarly in its approach. It is unique in presenting longitudinal, comparative data.” • Martha Macintyre, The University of Melbourne


Focusing on the small island of Paama, Vanuatu, and the capital, Port Vila, this book presents a rare and recent study of the ongoing significance of urbanisation and internal migration in the Global South. Based on longitudinal research undertaken in rural ‘home’ places, urban suburbs and informal settlements over thirty years, this book reveals the deep ambivalence of the outcome of migration, and argues that continuity in the fundamental organising principles of cultural life – in this case centred on kinship and an ‘island home’ – is significantly more important for urban and rural lives than the transformative impacts of migration and urbanisation.

Kirstie Petrou is a human geographer and a Research Associate at the Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research at the University of Adelaide.  Her previous publications include (2017) ‘Before it wasn’t like this…: Longitudinal research and a generation of continuity and change in rural-urban migration in Vanuatu’. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 26(1): 31-55.

Subject: Mobility StudiesRefugee and Migration Studies
Area: Asia-Pacific


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