Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of History and Politics - Faculty of Arts


This thesis deals with questions of how state-society interactions of two different states, a weak state – Papua New Guinea – and a strong state – Japan – have influenced responses to their respective internal and external challenges, particularly those caused by the anarchic and economic competitive nature of the post-Cold War international environment, globalisation and fragmentation. It is also a study of state endeavours for the survival of these two states. The investigation was founded on the view that traditional state explanations of international relations do not satisfactorily account for the complexity of how state-society interactions in these two countries influence their internal and external efforts towards their state survival. The thesis is also innovative in that there have been almost no studies that have researched the two countries, side by side. Section One of the thesis provides a theoretical framework and explanatory tools – a theoretical framework in international relations through examining globalisation and fragmentation. In exploring the bases for the survival of the state, this thesis investigates the link between domestic political conditions and foreign policy responses by employing the explanatory tools of the state-in-society analysis and foreign policy behaviour analysis. By so doing, the studies presented in this thesis enable the capture of the dynamics of intensified state-society interactions in two different states, and show how these influence the survival of the state. In particular, it considers the difference between a weak state and a strong state. A weak state is limited in its state strength in terms of compliance, government legitimacy and participation and ability to create social cohesion. On the other hand, a state that can maximise its state strength is a strong state. It is argued that both kinds of states have different abilities when responding and adapting to the challenges of globalisation. Section Two explores domestic and foreign policy in PNG. The first study is a critical examination of the interaction between the state and society in a weak state – PNG. It is argued that a state that is being challenged by domestic social forces is weakened, but also that a weak state is not necessarily synonymous with a weak society. The second part of Section Two offers a critical and comprehensive examination of the foreign policy responses of PNG and how it has responded to its external challenges. It is shown to be a country with limited available state resources and foreign policy options. Therefore, it is also argued that PNG's foreign policy behaviour must be considered from the point of view of the ongoing need for the survival of the state, that is, ‘friends to all, enemies to none’. Section Three is a critical examination of how particular social forces penetrate the policy-making of a state in domestic politics and in the foreign policy arena in Japan. It is argued that Japan's hierarchical structure is a fundamental cause for the intensified state-society interaction, and results in certain social forces penetrating the policy-making of the state by gaining proximity to the highest authorities of the state. In domestic politics, it is argued that the penetration of policy-making by certain social forces weakened state capacity, and ultimately resulted in the annihilation of non-conservative politics that led Japan's political transformation in the 1990s. In the foreign policy arena, it is argued that the penetration of policy-making by particular social forces occurred because Japan's Official Development Assistance provides relative material power that the state leaders and elite can mobilise as a powerful diplomatic tool, minimising its foreign policy vulnerability, while maximising its strategic foreign policy objectives. It is therefore argued that Japan’s state-society interactions determine its external responses. This thesis has shown how state-society interaction in PNG and Japan has influenced various responses for their survival. The studies throughout the thesis show that while the state that is a strong state has greater capacity than a state that is a weak state, a society in a weak state possesses greater resilience and tenaciousness than its counterpart society in a strong state.

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