Abstract

The spirit of aloha is pervasive in Hawai’i, and it is mobilized to sell everything from hula skirts to fantasies of diversity to plumbing services. Loosely defined as love, aloha is frequently used as a greeting and measurement of Hawaiianness. This article tracks the consequences the articulation of aloha has for Native Hawaiian subjectivity. Weaving together Marxist, postcolonial, and performance theory, I provide a historical and theoretical framing of aloha’s ideological significance for the state of Hawai’i and for Native Hawaiians. It is through what I term “aloha state apparatuses” that Native Hawaiian attachments to aloha are performed and sustained even if these performances reentrench colonialism and Native dispossession. Still, aloha functions as a grounding for Hawaiian indigeneity in a manner that cannot be simply reduced to being “colonized.” This article discusses how Native Hawaiians negotiate their relationship with aloha, in order to outline a theory of Hawaiian performativity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 705-726
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-21
Open Access
No
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