Small Arms, Violence and Gender in Papua New Guinea: Towards a Research Agenda


Capie, David. 2011. "Small Arms, Violence and Gender in Papua New Guinea: Towards a Research Agenda." Asia Pacific Viewpoint 52 (1): 42-55.

Author: David Capie


Among Pacific states, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has attracted the most attention from researchers looking at problems caused by small arms and light weapons. There is now a substantive body of work cataloguing different aspects of the country's problems with firearms and gun violence. This research sits alongside a large scholarly literature on violence in PNG and the connection between violence, gender and masculine identities. There has, however, been strikingly little research bringing these literatures together and looking directly at the gendered dimensions of PNG's gun violence. This paper explores some connections between small arms, violence and gender in PNG. After providing a general overview of small arms issues in PNG, it examines the misuse of firearms in urban crime and inter-communal fighting in the Highlands, specifically noting the limited evidence that is available about the differently gendered consequences of gun violence. It identifies three potential areas for further research: exploring the relationship between changing notions of masculinity and demand for firearms; gender and PNG's growing private security industry; and fragile signs of change in the role of women in the PNG Defence Force.


Keywords: gender, Papua New Guinea, small arms, violence

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Oceania Countries: Papua New Guinea

Year: 2011

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