Assembling Resistance Against Large-Scale Land Deals: Challenges for Conflict Transformation in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea


  • Anne Hennings University of Muenster



Assemblage, Conflict Transformation, Land Grabbing, Papua New Guinea, Resistance


Responding to the academic void on the impact of socio-ecological conflicts on peacebuilding and conflict transformation, I turn to resistance against large-scale land acquisitions in post-war contexts. Promising in terms of reconstruction and economic prosperity, the recent rush on land may, however, entail risks for reconciliation processes and long-term peace prospects. With reference to post-war Bougainville – as yet an autonomous province of Papua New Guinea – the article aims to conceptualize the impact of resistance against large-scale land deals on conflict transformation processes. Applying assemblage theory thereby allows not only analyzing multilayered dynamics in post-conflict societies but also new perspectives on socio-ecological conflicts. The findings suggest increasing resistance, for example, advocacy politics, demonstrations or sit-ins, against land deals and state territorialization in Bougainville with resemblances to pre-war contentious politics against Panguna mine. Yet, the lasting war trauma, a high weapon prevalence, and growing social friction add to destructive deterritorialization processes that are currently slowed down by the upcoming independence referendum.

Author Biography

Anne Hennings, University of Muenster

Anne Hennings is a PhD fellow at the Institute of Political Science, University of Muenster, Germany, and a visiting researcher at the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Her research focuses on the politics of contested land deals and its impact on post-conflict dynamics in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Anne is speaker and co-founder of the working group “Nature, Resources, Conflict” of the German Association for Peace and Conflict Studies.




How to Cite

Hennings, A. (2016) “Assembling Resistance Against Large-Scale Land Deals: Challenges for Conflict Transformation in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea”, Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 9(1), pp. 33–52. doi: 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2016.1-3.



Current Research on Southeast Asia