'The pacific way' as postcolonial discourse: Towards a reassessment

Stephanie Lawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In 2005, an entry entitled 'Pacific Way' appeared in a collection of essays on postcolonial thought. While this seems unremarkable, it invites questions concerning both the Pacific Way idea and the nature of postcolonial critique. This article is especially concerned to examine the specific circumstances in which the term was initially articulated and the precise meaning with which it was imbued. Although the Pacific Way acquired some 'postcolonial' characteristics in subsequent years, it was evidently anything but in its original formulation. Rather, it was a conservative discourse embracing notions of class hierarchy common to elites among both colonisers and colonised. This brings into question the status of the Pacific Way as a postcolonial discourse, and whether postcolonialism's 'anticoloniality' is in fact hospitable to indigenous hegemony, thus undermining its general anti-hegemonic credentials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Pacific History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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