Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development: Other Paths for Papua New Guinea
486pp. July 2012
Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development: Other Paths for Papua New Guinea
Author: James, Paul; Nadarajah, Yaso; Haive, Karen; Stead, Victoria;
Papua New Guinea is going through a crisis: A concentration on conventional approaches to development, including an unsustainable reliance on mining, forestry, and foreign aid, has contributed to the country’s slow decline since independence in 1975. Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development attempts to address problems and gaps in the literature on development and develop a new qualitative conception of community sustainability informed by substantial and innovative research in Papua New Guinea. In this context, sustainability is conceived in terms that include not just practices tied to economic development. It also informs questions of wellbeing and social integration, community-building, social support, and infrastructure renewal. In short, the concern with sustainability here entails undertaking an analysis of how communities are sustained through time, how they cohere and change, rather than being constrained within discourses and models of development. From another angle, this project presents an account of community sustainability detached from instrumental concerns with economic development.

Contributors address questions such as: What are the stories and histories through which people respond to their nation’s development? What is the everyday social environment of groups living in highly diverse areas (migrant settlements, urban villages, remote communities)? They seek to contribute to a creative and dynamic grass-roots response to the demands of everyday life and local-global pressures. While the overdeveloped world faces an intersecting crisis created by global climate change and financial instability, Papua New Guinea, with all its difficulties, still has the basis for responding to this manifold predicament. Its secret lies in what has been seen as its weakness: underdeveloped economies and communities, where people still maintain sustainable relations to each other and the natural world.

Writing Past Colonialism
Published in association with the Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne
Sustainable Communities is an excellent work; remarkable. It manages to combine a sense of the complexity of its subject while remaining highly readable. I found it deeply probing, sustaining a sense of complexity across a multitude of terrains. Importantly, the book displays a belief in the possibilities of the village and displaced communities while retaining a sense of relevant problems. There were some surprises for me. I found myself asking how is it possible, after thirty-five years of crisis after crisis, for a group of serious, positive, imaginative researchers to find that people in Papua New Guinea still live in sustainable community-based relations with one another. This is a reason for humility, and a basis for serious reflection on the crises and hopes of the past and present.” —Dr. Nonie Sharo, author of Stars of Tagai: The Torres Strait Islanders
Author: James, Paul; Nadarajah, Yaso; Haive, Karen; Stead, Victoria;
Paul James is professor of globalization and cultural diversity, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Yaso Nadarajah is research fellow at the Globalism Research Centre, RMIT. Karen Haive is first assistant secretary in the Department for Community Development, Papua New Guinea. Victoria Stead is research assistant in the Department for Community Development, Papua New Guinea.
Read Chapter 1 (PDF).
Note on Authors 
Preface and Acknowledgments 

I Communities in Context  
Chapter 1. Postcolonial Development and Sustainability 
Chapter 2. Engaged Theory and Social Mapping 
Chapter 3. Situating Communities 

II Communities in Place 
Chapter 4. Urban and Periurban Communities 
Chapter 5. Hinterland Communities 
Chapter 6. Remote Communities 

III Community Development 
Chapter 7. Informal Economies and Community Livelihoods 
Chapter 8. Microfinance and Community Development 
Chapter 9. Health and Community Equity 
Chapter 10. HIV/AIDS and Community Context 

IV Community Learning 
Chapter 11. Learning beyond Formal Education 
Chapter 12. Learning Centers for Sustainable Living 
Chapter 13. Recommendations for Community Learning 

Appendix: Project Partnerships and Coordination