Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of International, Cultural and Community Studies


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Dr Quentin Beresford


This thesis examines the problem of election-related violence through a number of meta-theories, which have recently emerged in the social sciences to explain intrastate conflicts. By using the case study of the 2002 elections in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), this thesis examines the applicability and usefulness of primordialism, modernization theory and weak state theory in explaining election-related violence in PNG. Critically examining the theories, the thesis analyses a wide range of information about the historical, cultural, social and political factors that played a significant role in the surfacing of election-related violence in the PNG Highlands. By highlighting the dynamics between these various aspects, the thesis argues that none of the existing theories has the capacity to fully conceptualize election-related violence in PNG.