On Discourse and Power: "Cults" and "Orientals" in Fiji



Essences are not origins, as is made clearer when approaching discourse via methods of Latour rather than Foucault. Tracking the emergence of power in the alignment of heterogeneous agents, institutions, and objects, we contrast the fates of efforts by two British colonial officials in Fiji, one who sought to outlaw a "dangerous" movement in 1887 and a second who sought to thwart union organizing among "orientals" in 1935. Though the second effort fit more closely with an existing grand discourse ("orientalism"), the first aligned changing fields of interest in Fiji and empire. The first gained the power to represent the real, and the second did not. Realities of colonial power contradict Latour's principle of symmetry, but not the rest of his approach to the making of power, [discourse, power, orientalism, cargo cults, colonialism, Latour, Foucault, Fiji]