Richard Eves, Senior Fellow
Current Research Projects
Richard Eves is the Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Discovery Project,
Masculinity, Men and Development: A Critical Analysis of Violence, Conflict and AIDS Prevention Measures in Melanesia.
Begun in 2010, the project takes the view that fundamental changes are needed in men's attitudes and beliefs about women
and their roles in society if the high levels of HIV infection and gender-based violence in Melanesia are to be improved.
The project examines some of the prevention measures being made by governments, non-government organisations and churches.
It has three aims:
- To critically analyse the underlying assumptions and methods of efforts being made in Melanesia to change men's behaviour,
in order to reduce conflict, violence and the spread of AIDS.
- To produce policy-relevant research to inform the development of more culturally appropriate and effective conflict resolution,
anti-violence and AIDS prevention measures aimed at men.
- To add to existing theoretical writings on masculinity and to make these more responsive to the contemporary situation by
drawing on case studies that reveal the current, changing forms of masculinity in Melanesia and the factors that have
brought these changes.
Matriliny Under Siege: Matrilineal Land Tenure and Development.
This project examines how matrilineal land tenure systems in Melanesia are coping with modernity and particularly with
increasing levels of development. Many anthropological writings of the past predicted the death of matrilineal systems in
the face of such threats. These predictions have not been realised, but development, particularly in the form of permanent
cash crops, is putting considerable pressure on matrilineal systems. Drawing on long-term fieldwork among the
Lelet in central New Ireland, this project examines the complexity of the Lelet land tenure system, how the planting
of coffee is causing conflicts over land, and the Lelet's proposed solutions to these conflicts.
Christianity and the AIDS Epidemic in Papua New Guinea.
This research is part of an ongoing interest in the ways that evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal Christians understand
and interpret the AIDS epidemic. Most Papua New Guineans have been Christian for generations. The many newer and more
fundamentalist forms of Christianity that have appeared in the last forty years see the HIV/AIDS through a particularly
moralistic lens that conflicts with government efforts to stem the epidemic. The research draws on material collected
during fieldwork in the Southern Highlands in 2007 and in New Ireland over many years.
Papua New Guinean Conceptions of the 'Failing State'.
This research focuses on how Papua New Guineans themselves conceptualise the role of the state and judge its performance.
A considerable literature contests the description of the Papua New Guinean state as failing, if not failed.
Much of this comes from national intellectuals and politicians, who regard such judgments as pejorative and vigorously
object to their use. However, the view that the state is indeed failing is regularly met with in many parts of the country,
and this research draws on case material from the Southern Highlands, Chimbu and New Ireland to document the ways that
the people of these provinces voice their profound disenchantment with the state. The project examines several questions:
How people see the role of the state and their expectations of it; what this reveals about Papua New Guinean national identity;
what views and expectations Papua New Guineans have of other countries; and what are the implications of these issues for
On the Ruins of Modernity: Christianity, Globalisation and Apocalypticism in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.
This ongoing research project draws on long-term fieldwork among the Lelet in central New Ireland to elaborate the
specific form Christianity takes there. Through the example of the local appropriation of Pentecostalism,
the research explores theoretical issues, such as the changing nature of the self, governmentality and the nature of
historical change, particularly the articulation between continuity and change and how local frameworks relate to the
globalising trajectories of modernity. So far, this project has seen the production of several journal articles and chapters,
and I am currently working towards a monograph.
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