Articulating life-itself
: growth, place and movement on Mugaba (Rennell) in the Solomon Islands

  • Mia Kimberly Browne

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


Mugaba (Rennell) and Mugiki (Bellona) in the Solomon Islands, is the site of multiple stories, to which different values are given through different registers of 'life-itself'. Research expeditions that renamed Mugaba's life forms would later provide the compelling qualities to merit East Rennell as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (and later as World Heritage in Danger). Earlier ethnographic accounts that endeavoured to capture the last glimpses of a pre-Christian culture, represented both Euro-American genetic legacies, and Rennellese and Bellonese descriptions of people 'coming out of place'. Fieldwork on East Rennell spanned over two years, exploring how Rennellese people have folded these converging stories into their analyses of historical becoming, creating novel articulations of life and its processes. Under the research theme 'Life Itself in the Pacific' at the Centre for Pacific Studies, this work takes Rennellese descriptions of life (human and non-human others) and its contingencies as its starting point. It explores Rennellese articulations of Life-Itself, how people's growth is also enabled by different kinds of movements and flows - those that have elsewhere been qualified as 'history', 'kinship', 'gender', and even 'ecology' - to examine what is at risk in an 'endangered' World Heritage Site.
Date of Award2 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorTony Crook (Supervisor)

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 19 November 2025

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