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Postcolonialism, neo-colonialism and the “Pacific Way”: a critique of (un)critical approaches

CollectionsANU Dept. of Pacific Affairs (DPA) formerly State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Program
Title: Postcolonialism, neo-colonialism and the “Pacific Way”: a critique of (un)critical approaches
Author(s): Lawson, Stephanie
Date published: 2010
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Program, School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, College of Asia & the Pacific, The Australian National University
Citation: Lawson, S. (2010). Postcolonialism, neo-colonialism and the “Pacific Way”: a critique of (un)critical approaches. SSGM Discussion Paper 2010/4. Canberra, ACT: ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program
Series/Report no.: State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) discussion paper series: 2010/4
Description: 
When Fiji’s first Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, first used the term the “Pacific Way" during an address to the UN General Assembly in 1970, its specific referent was the smooth transition to independence of Fiji and several other Pacific island states that had thus far gone through the decolonization process. The “Pacific Way"" was soon used to denote a collective political identity for the island states of the Pacific region in the postcolonial period and, together with the “Melanesian Way"", developed the characteristics of an anticolonial discourse — something that had been noticeably lacking in Mara’s original formulation. During much the same period, Edward Said’s critical study, Orientalism, began to make its mark, especially in terms of its critique of the nexus between power and knowledge and the way in which this supported colonial hegemony. This in turn provided an important stimulus for the development of postcolonial theory as an anti-hegemonic discourse critical not just of colonial history but manifestations of neocolonialism in the contemporary period. In this paper I suggest that although the “Pacific Way” is generally presented as a counter-hegemonic discourse, in some manifestations it provides support for other kinds of hegemony. This is because it has so far evinced very little concern with the hegemonic practices of local elites. At the same time, it continues to invest in the overarching West/non-West bifurcation of the world, which also produces quite simplistic images of contemporary regional politics that mask a much more complex set of social, political and economic relations.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/9888
ISSN: 1328-7854

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