Dr Jack Corbett

BA (Hons) Melbourne, Ph.D. ANU
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
College of Asia & the Pacific
T: +61 2 6125 9923

Areas of expertise

  • Policy And Administration 1605
  • Political Science 1606
  • Comparative Government And Politics 160603
  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606

Research interests

Jack Corbett joined SSGM in 2012 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. His research interests include political leadership and biography in the Pacific Islands, anti-politics and democratic disenchantment; democratization and development; the politics of small island states; and interpretive research methodologies. He recently completed his PhD entitled Practising Politics in the Pacific Islands: Insider Perspectives at the ANU. This project, which drew on in-depth interviews, published life histories and observation-based research, provides a collective portrait of politicians in the region. He has also previously undertaken field research on deforestation and participatory development in Malawi, Africa. Prior to his PhD candidature, Jack was a Canberra-based civil servant with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has also undertaken consultancies with the Commonwealth Secretariat and short-term work with the Centre for Democratic Institutions. He is currently preparing several articles and revising a book manuscript, based on his PhD, for publication.

Jack currently teaches into POLS2055 Pacific Politics and PASI1011/6011 Navigating Pacific Studies


Australian Postgraduate Award (2010-2012), Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (2008-2009), Parliament of Australia Graduate Program (2009), Parliament of Victoria Internship (2006), Centenary Medal (2001).

Researcher's projects

Being Political: Leadership and Democracy in the Pacific Islands

In this book Jack provides a ‘collective portrait’ of the people who govern Pacific Island countries by following them through their political careers. He asks how and why they get into politics, what it’s like when they do, and why they stay and leave. He argues that this ‘inside view’ of political life must be taken into account by all commentators and would-be reformers in the Pacific Islands and concludes that better understanding politicians can temper popular disillusionment with democratic government.

Political Life Writing in the Pacific Islands

This project, co-convened with Professor Brij V Lal, investigates the practice of political life writing in the Pacific Islands. Based on the proceedings of a Workshop Symposium held at the ANU on 18 October 2012, key themes include narrative and identity formation, storytelling and memory, ethics and research integrity, style and audience, and future challenges and disciplinary significance of the genre, both as it relates to traditional mediums of autobiography and biography but also collective studies, dictionary projects and edited collections.


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Updated:  29 November 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers