Western Solomons Research Database
:: Home
:: Background
:: How to use the database
:: People and Their Research
:: Research Themes
:: Islands and places
:: Bergen Pacific Studies

The Bergen Initiative

:: Database news
:: Contact
:: Links




Hviding, Edvard

Edvard Hviding is an anthropologist who has carried out research in Solomon Islands since 1986, mainly in the Marovo Lagoon. He received his PhD in 1993 from the University of Bergen. His research interests cover many topics including fishing and customary marine tenure, logging and other uses of the rainforest, cultural history and inter-island connections, languages, and religion. Edvard Hviding has co-produced several documentary films from the Marovo area. Recently he has worked on a rural education project with UNESCO, based on his Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon. With Cato Berg and Graham Baines, Edvard Hviding manages the Western Solomons Research Database. He speaks the Marovo language.

University of Bergen, Norway (Anthropology)
Anthropology, resource management, history: Marovo and New Georgia islands.

Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details.

Professor Edvard Hviding
Department of Social Anthropology
University of Bergen
P.O. Box 7800
N-5020 Bergen
Tel. +47 5558 9264
Fax +47 5558 9260
Email: edvard.hviding@sosantr.uib.no
Website: http://pacific.uib.no

Ph.D., Social Anthropology, University of Bergen (1993)
M.A., Social Anthropology, University of Bergen (1988)


Edvard Hviding is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, Norway and an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at James Cook University, Australia. Since 1986, Hviding has been engaged in long-term anthropological research in Solomon Islands, where he has carried out more than three years of fieldwork mainly in the Marovo Lagoon area of Western Province, from bases in the villages of Chea (on Marovo Island) and Tamaneke (in northern Marovo). He has also visited many other parts of Western Province and Solomon Islands more widely in connection with his work during the 1990s for ICLARM (now the World Fish Centre), and has carried out consultancy work on traditional marine resource management in a number of other Pacific Islands nations. Hviding’s enduring research interests cover a range of interrelated topics such as fishing, agroforestry and the customary tenure of sea and land; kinship and social organization; cultural history and languages of New Georgia; indigenous environmental knowledge and epistemology; leadership and customary law; and the local manifestations and consequences of globalization (including the development initiatives of the Christian Fellowship Church). He has published widely on these aspects of his research, in the form of many articles and book chapters and two monographs: Guardians of Marovo Lagoon (1996) and Islands of Rainforest (2000, with Tim Bayliss-Smith).

Hviding also carries out activities that connect his anthropological and linguistic work with rural educational needs in Marovo Lagoon, as shown by the three multilingual books he has published in Marovo and other New Georgian languages (as well as English) and distributed to schools and villages around Marovo and northern New Georgia and at Gizo. Currently this aspect of his work takes place in the context of UNESCO and Solomon Islands Government projects on vernacular education, and has involved the distribution of his book Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon as a locally informed teaching tool to many schools affected by the 2007 earthquake and tsunami. With professional film producers and in cooperation with the Solomon Islands National Museum, Hviding has co-directed and co-produced several anthropological documentary films based on his research in Marovo, including Chea’s Great Kuarao, which has been widely screened in Solomon Islands.

Hviding leads the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group based at his university, and coordinates the international research programme ”Pacific Alternatives: Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation in Oceania” with institutional partners in the Pacific (including the national museums of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), Australia, the United States and Europe. This programme explores the possibilities for building a network of rural fieldworkers in several provinces of the Solomons, including prospects for reviving the cultural sector of the Western Province government.

With Graham Baines, Hviding developed the “Bergen Initiative” after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Western Solomons in 2007, in an attempt to connect the accumulated, mainly overseas scholarship on the Western Solomons to urgent and more long-term practical needs in that part of Solomon Islands. The establishment of the Western Solomons Research Database, in dialogue with Western Province leaders,  is a major outcome of this initiative.

In addition to the Bergen Initiative and the ongoing practical work on vernacular education undertaken under UNESCO auspices with Mr. Aseri Yalangono (Director, Secondary Division, MEHRD) and other collaborators at the SIG Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, Edvard Hviding is currently engaged in the following major projects concerning the Western Solomons:

Vernacular Environmental Education in the Western Solomons. Book project (for UNESCO) that examines the development of a pilot project in vernacular education founded in Hviding’s Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon, and that highlights the impressive written work submitted to the pilot project by students at primary and secondary schools in Marovo and North New Georgia.

Rescuing the Rural: The Christian Fellowship Church as a Rural Development Agent. Book project (with Shankar Aswani) about the recent history of the CFC and the remarkable record of the church as an independent social movement that consistently supported rural development during the years of tension and government collapse. The project builds on the close long-term association of both authors with the CFC, its people and its leaders, also including the knighting of the Rev. Ikan Rove in London in 2005.

Working Relations: The Royal Navy in late 19th-century New Georgia. Book project examining the interactions between the people of New Georgia and the British men-of-war HMS Penguin (which was engaged in surveying the New Georgia island during 1893-95) and HMS Royalist (which engaged in punitive expeditions on several occasions between 1889 and 1894). The project builds on Royal Navy logs and journals, and on recollections and oral history from New Georgia.

Solomon Islands artefacts between museums: the Western Solomons war canoe in contemporary political scenes. Book project (with Graham Baines) about Western Solomons war canoes as museum objects and as objects of various political scenes in today’s Western Solomons and Solomon Islands nation. The project builds on both authors’ long-term familiarity with war canoes and their stories in local circumstances (mainly Marovo and Vella Lavella) and on work at the British Museum.



2005. Reef and Rainforest: An Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands / Kiladi oro vivineidi ria tingitonga pa idere oro pa goana pa Marovo. Knowledges of Nature Series, No. 1. Paris: UNESCO. 252pp. ISBN 92-990041-0-2

2000. Islands of Rainforest: Agroforestry, Logging and Ecotourism in Solomon Islands. Aldershot: Ashgate. xvii + 371pp. ISBN 0-7546-1233-3 (Edvard Hviding & Tim Bayliss-Smith)

1996. Guardians of Marovo Lagoon: Practice, Place, and Politics in Maritime Melanesia. Pacific Islands Monograph Series, 14. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. 473p. ISBN 0-8248-1664-1

1995. Of Reef and Rainforest: A Dictionary of Environment and Resources in Marovo Lagoon. Bergen: Centre for Development Studies, University of Bergen, in collaboration with Western Province Division of Culture. 208pp. ISBN 82-7453-012-8

1995. Vivinei tuari pa Ulusaghe: Stories and legends from Marovo, New Georgia, in four New Georgian languages and with English translations. Recorded, translated and edited by Edvard Hviding, with assistance from V. Vaguni and others. Bergen: Centre for Development Studies, University of Bergen, in collaboration with Western Province Division of Culture. 88pp. ISBN 82-7453-013-6

1993. The Rural Context of Giant Clam Mariculture in Solomon Islands: An Anthropological Study. ICLARM Technical Report 39. Manila: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management. 93pp. ISBN 971-8709-39-8
(PDF - 5,9 MB)


Journal articles

2006. ”Knowing and managing biodiversity in the Pacific Islands: challenges of conservation in the Marovo Lagoon.”  International Social Science Journal , 58(1) Issue 187: 69-85. ISSN 0020-8701

2003. ”CA* Comment” on S. Aswani & P. Sheppard, “The archaeology and ethnohistory of exchange in precolonial and colonial Roviana”. Current Anthropology 2003, 44 (5 Supplement Dec 03): S72-S73. ISSN 0011-3204.

2003.“Between Knowledges: Pacific Studies and Academic Disciplines”. The Contemporary Pacific, 15:43-73. ISSN 1043-898X.

2003. “Contested rainforests, NGOs and projects of desire in Solomon  Islands”. International Social Science Journal 55 (4) Issue 178: 439-453. ISSN 0020-8701

2003. “Rainforest composition and histories of human disturbance in Solomon Islands”. Ambio, 32: 346-352. ISSN 0044-7447 (T. Bayliss-Smith, E. Hviding & T.C. Whitmore)

2003. “Fieldwork with Bob: ‘The first man to dive all night’ ”. Traditional Marine Resource Managemnent and Knowledge Bulletin, Special Edition (March 2003): 19-21. ISSN 1025-7497

2002. “Le savoir traditionnel des pêcheurs du lagon de Marovo (Îles Salomon) concernant le comportement grégaire des poissons.” Ressources Marines et Traditions, Bulletin d’Information, No. 12:24-31. ISSN 1025-7497 (R.E. Johannes & Edvard Hviding)

2000. “Traditional knowledge possessed by the fishers of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands, concerning fish aggregating behavior.” Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Bulletin, No.12: 22-29. ISSN 1025-7497 (R.E. Johannes & Edvard Hviding)

1998. “Contextual flexibility: present status and future of customary marine tenure in Solomon Islands.” Ocean & Coastal Management, 40:253-269. ISSN 0964-5691

1998. “Western movements in non-Western worlds: towards an anthropology of uncertain encounters.” Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 23(3):30-51. ISSN 0355-3930

1994. “Community-based fisheries management, tradition and the challenges of development in Marovo, Solomon Islands”. Development and Change, 25(1):13-39. ISSN 0012-155X (Edvard Hviding & Graham B.K. Baines)

1993. “Indigenous essentialism? ‘Simplifying’ customary land ownership in New Georgia, Solomon Islands.” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 149: 802-824. ISSN 006-2294

1992. “Marine resources management in the context of customary tenure.” Marine Resource Economics, 7:249-273. ISSN 0738-1360 (Kenneth Ruddle, Edvard Hviding & R.E. Johannes)

1991. “Traditional institutions and their role in contemporary coastal resource management in the Pacific Islands.” NAGA, The ICLARM Quarterly, 14(4):3-6. ISSN 00116-290X


Book chapters

2006. ”Foreword”, in Babata: Our Land, Our Tribe, Our People, by Wilson Gia Liligeto. IPS Publications. Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific. ISBN 978-982-02-0382-2

2005. “Christian Fellowship Church”, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Bron Taylor (ed.), 306-307. London: Continuum Books. ISBN 1-84371-138-9

2003. “Both Sides of the Beach: Knowledges of Nature in Oceania”, in Nature Across Cultures: Non-Western Views of the Environment and Nature, Helaine Selin (ed.), 243-275. Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Sciences, Volume 4. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN 1-4020-1235-7.

2003. “Disentangling the butubutu of New Georgia: cognatic kinship in thought and action”, in Oceanic Socialities and Cultural Forms: Ethnographies of Experience, I. Hoëm & S. Roalkvam (eds.), 71-113. Oxford: Berghahn Books. ISBN 1-57181-558-9.

2001. “Islands Connected: Making Pacific Worlds (Project Presentation)”, in Migrations and Exchange in a Historical Perspective, P. Wallin (ed.), 4-9. No Barriers Seminar Papers, Vol. III. Oslo: The Kon-Tiki Museum, Institute for Pacific Archaeology and Cultural History. ISSN 1501-584X. (Jonathan Friedman & Edvard Hviding)

1999. “Western movements in non-Western worlds: towards an anthropology of uncertain encounters”, in Postcolonialism and Cultural Resistance, J. Nyman &  J.A. Stotesbury (eds.), 3-23. Studia Carelica Humanistica, 14. Joensuu: Faculty of Humanities, University of Joensuu. ISBN 951-708-778-0. (reprinted from Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 23)

1999. “Taro irrigation, arboriculture and stratified polities in coastal Melanesia: evidence from the pre-colonial agricultural systems of New Georgia”, in Archaeology, Agriculture and Identity, P. Wallin (ed.), 17-24. No Barriers Seminar Papers, Vol. II. Oslo: The Kon-Tiki Museum, Institute for Pacific Archaeology and Cultural History. ISSN 1501-584X
1997.  “Fisheries and coastal resources: knowledge and development”, in Environment and Development in the Pacific Islands, B. Burt & C. Clerk (eds.), 123-142. Port Moresby & Canberra: University of Papua New Guinea Press/NDRC, Australian National University. ISBN 0-7315-2351-2.

1996. “Custom and complexity: marine tenure, fisheries management and conservation in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands”, in Resources, Nations and Indigenous Peoples: case studies from Australasia, Melanesia and Southeast Asia, R. Howitt, J. Connell & P Hirsch (eds.), 66-87. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553758-0 (Edvard Hviding & Graham B.K. Baines)

1996. “Nature, culture, magic, science: on meta-languages for comparison in cultural ecology”, in Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives, P. Descola & G. Pálsson (eds.), 165-184. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-13215-0 / 0-415-13216-9

1995. “Maritime travel, present and past, in Marovo, Western Solomon Islands”, in Seafaring in the Modern Pacific Islands: Studies in Continuity and Change, R. Feinberg (ed.), 90-113. DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-87580-201-X

1994. “Traditional marine tenure and management: challenges, experiences, and prospects”, in Traditional Marine Tenure and the Sustainable Management of Marine Resources in Asia and the Pacific, G.R. South, D. Goulet, S. Tuqiri & M. Church (eds.), 88-100. Suva: University of the South Pacific/International Ocean Institute Operational Centre. ISBN 982-01-0241-3

1994. “Community-based fisheries management, tradition and the challenges of development in Marovo, Solomon Islands”, in Development and Environment: Sustaining People and Nature, Dharam Ghai (ed.), 13-39. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19394-4. (Edvard Hviding & Graham B.K. Baines, reprinted from Development and Change, 25).

1993. “Traditional environmental knowledge for resource management in Marovo, Solomon Islands”, in Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Wisdom for Sustainable Development, N.M. Williams & G.B.K. Baines (eds.), 56-65. Canberra: Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 0-86740-414-0 (Graham B.K. Baines & Edvard Hviding)

1992. “Traditional Environmental Knowledge from the Marovo Area of the Solomon Islands”, in LORE: Capturing Traditional Environmental Knowledge, Martha Johnson (ed.), 92-110. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. ISBN 0-88936-644-6 (Graham B.K. Baines & Edvard Hviding)

1990. “Keeping the sea: aspects of marine tenure in Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands”, in Traditional Coastal Resource Management in the Pacific Basin: An Anthology, K. Ruddle & R.E. Johannes (eds.), 7-44. Jakarta: UNESCO-Regional Office for Science and Technology for Southeast Asia.


Other selected publications

Hviding, Edvard 2008. Reef and Rainforest: An Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands / A Pilot Project in Vernacular Environmental Education for the Pacific Islands. STUDY GUIDE AND TEACHER’S MANUAL. Paris: UNESCO/LINKS.

Hviding, Edvard 2005. Village-level Documentation and Transmission of
Local Environmental Knowledge: A Pilot Project for Solomon Islands.
Report to UNESCO-LINKS. Paris: UNESCO.

1991.  A regional assessment of the potential role of customary marine tenure (CMT) systems in contemporary fisheries management in the South Pacific. Honiara: South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency, FFA Reports 91/71. 22pp. (Edvard Hviding & Kenneth Ruddle)

1989. “All things in our sea”: The dynamics of customary marine tenure, Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands. NRI Special Publication No. 13. Boroko, Papua New Guinea: National Research Institute. 30pp. ISBN 9980-75-021-9.



Western Solomons
Updated 12 January, 2011