The phrase Christian politics points in two directions: political relations between deminations in one direction, and ways that Christian churches contribute to debates about how society should be governed in the other. The contributors to this volume address Christian politics in both senses and argue that Christianity is always and inevitably political in the Pacific Islands. Drawing on ethgraphic and historical research in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji, the authors argue that Christianity and politics have redefined each other in much of Oceania in ways that make the two categories inseparable at any level of analysis. The individual chapters vividly illuminate the ways in which Christian politics operate across a wide scale from interpersonal relations to national and global interconnections.
Matt Tomlinson has conducted research in Fiji since 1996 and is currently a Future Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Australian National University's College of Asia and the Pacific. Along with numerous journal articles on Fijian Methodism, politics, and ritual performance, he is the author of In God's Image: The Metaculture of Fijian Christianity (2009), and co-editor of The Limits of Meaning: Case Studies in the Anthropology of Christianity (2006) and Flows of Faith: Religious Reach and Community in Asia and the Pacific (2012). Debra McDougall is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Western Australia. From 2006 - 2010, she was Chief Investigator and Australian Postdoctoral Fellow for an ARC Discovery Project on Christianity and politics in Solomon Islands. In addition to articles on anthropology and Christianity, she has written about the contestation of property rights in contexts of logging and conservation projects, Christianity and customary forms of dispute management, women's Christian fellowship, and men's conversion to Islam.