Professor Edvard Hviding (Research Group Director)
MA, PhD, University of Bergen; S.I.M.; F.R.A.I.
Edvard Hviding is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, and the founding director of the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group. He is also an Honorary Adjunct Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. Hviding is presently the PI and director of the international research project “Island Lives, Oceans States: Sea-level Rise and Maritime Sovereignties in the Pacific’ (OCEANSTATES), funded by the Research Council of Norway’s TOPPFORSK programme for 2018-2023. During 2012-16 Hviding was the scientific coordinator of ECOPAS, the European Consortium for Pacific Studies (funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme), and during 2008-12 he co-directed with BPS member Professor Knut Rio the international research programme Pacific Alternatives: Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation in Oceania (funded by the Research Council of Norway, with 12 participating institutions worldwide). In 2012-13 Hviding was Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO).
Edvard Hviding’s research record in the Pacific has been ongoing since 1986. He has carried out altogether three and a half years of fieldwork in Solomon Islands, mainly in the Marovo Lagoon of Western Province. He has also travelled and worked in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, and Hawai’i, and during the 1990s was engaged in a series of regional Pacific projects of fisheries management. In 2003-2010 he was an adviser to UNESCO on education and environment in Solomon Islands, with a particular focus on vernacular environmental education at the interfaces of local and global knowledges. Most recently Hviding has been engaged as a regional expert by Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on several high-level delegation visits to the Pacific Islands region, and he has been closely involved in numerous events of science diplomacy in the United Nations context under the auspices of Norway, UNFCCC, UN DESA, Palau and the Pacific group of Small Island Developing States.
For his efforts in developing vernacular environmental education and research dissemination in the Western Solomons, Hviding was awarded the Silver Medal of the Order of Solomon Islands (S.I.M.) in 2010. His anthropological research covers many interrelated topics in social, environmental and historical anthropology, including fishing, agroforestry and the customary tenure of sea and land; kinship and social organization; the cultural history and languages of New Georgia; colonial encounters; environmental knowledge and epistemology; customary law, leadership and dispossession; and the local manifestations and consequences of globalization. He maintains long-running collaborative research with geographer Tim Bayliss-Smith (University of Cambridge) on the archaeology and history of irrigated taro cultivation and chiefly leadership in the Western Solomons. Most recently Hviding has initiated an interdisciplinary programme of comparative research on vernacular models of, and Pacific diplomacy and policies concerning, changes in environment, weather and climate. As PI and Director of the OCEANSTATES project 2018-2023, he closely follows Pacific regional and United Nations meetings and conferences on ocean and climate diplomacy.
At the University of Bergen, Edvard Hviding currently directs the Science Advice platform of SDG Bergen, a strategic initiative of the university to engage with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Hviding’s publications include about 75 journal articles and book chapters, eight books, and many research reports and public outreach pieces. The books include the monographs Guardians of Marovo Lagoon (1996), Islands of Rainforest (2000, with Tim Bayliss-Smith, republished 2019), and Reef and Rainforest: An Environmental Encyclopedia of Marovo Lagoon (2005, revised edition 2011); and the edited volumes Made in Oceania (2011, with Knut Rio), The Ethnographic Experiment (2014, with Cato Berg), and Pacific Alternatives (2015, with Geoffrey White).
For a detailed list of publications, see here.