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Changing Contexts, Shifting MeaningsTransformations of Cultural Traditions in Oceania$
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Elfriede Hermann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833664

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833664.001.0001

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Alienation and Appropriation

Alienation and Appropriation

Fijian Water and the Pacific Romance in Fiji and New York

(p.221) Alienation and Appropriation
Changing Contexts, Shifting Meanings

Martha Kaplan

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter considers the global market as a context for transforming yet another product: water, sourced in Fiji and consumed in faraway New York. Across the globe, Fijian water has brought together complex desires, practices, and meanings. Its success in the U.S. market seems to depend on its remarkably effective denial of connection to actual origins, colonial history, U.S. power, and real people. Perhaps the real success of the product is that buyers do not believe there really is a serious, multiethnic postcolonial Fiji out there, imagining instead an original, natural, empty Paradise. Fiji Water speaks to U.S. cultural desires for naturalness, not just with any pure natural spring water, but native nature, from a native, natural nation. In Fiji, the history of water from the foothills of the Kauvadra range has engaged the cultural politics and meaning of “land-” (and water) “owning” in highly consequential ways. In the context of the global intricacies of the flow of this water, the Pacific romances of U.S. consumers and of Fijian cultural nationalism have intensified and transformed.

Keywords:   Fiji, Fijian water, cultural nationalism, American consumers, Fiji Water, bottled water

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