If Everyone Returned, The Island Would Sink

If Everyone Returned, The Island Would Sink

Urbanisation and Migration in Vanuatu

Kirstie Petrou


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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.