Hegemony, anti-hegemony and counter-hegemony : control, resistance and coups in Fiji

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The thesis argues that the colonial state in Fiji was founded upon ethno-cultural divisions, which continued in the post-colonial period with the establishment of indigenous chiefly political hegemony. By using a neo-Gramscian analytical framework based on the centrality of the role of ethnicity and culture in the study of colonial and post-colonial societies, the thesis develops three inter-related themes for the analysis of Fiji’s political history: the role of colonial culture, the importance of ethno-cultural divisions, and the changing role of the military in hegemony, antihegemony and counter-hegemony. The thesis proposes a dynamic model of decolonisation that conceptualises Fiji’s post-colonial political history in terms of hegemonic cycles that sees indigenous chiefly hegemony subside into factionalisation of the indigenous polity, inter-ethnic alliances and coercive indigenous assertion. These cycles operate as a product of conflict between hegemonic, anti-hegemonic and counter-hegemonic forces. The study finds that the hegemonic cycles were interrupted by a failed indigenous coercive phase in 2000 which led to military counter-hegemony and the ouster of the indigenous political order in 2006. The thesis notes that the re-alignment of indigenous political forces, following the latest military intervention, had the potential to re-instate the hegemonic cycles. The neo-Gramscian model developed in the thesis has a projective element and can be used to analyse the role of ethnicity and culture in colonial and postcolonial hegemonies such as in the South Pacific region.
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