Bi-cultural knowledge production, commodity fetishism, and food governance.

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The Author(s)
A 14-year collaboration between indigenous peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand and ecological scientists with Otago University – for the sustainability of a traditional food source of the Māori of Rakiura (the titi - Sooty Shearwater) – gestures towards an emergent form of food governance under colonial conditions, that grows out of bi-cultural knowledge production (Moller 2009). A set of reflections by those involved (Stephenson and Moller 2009) suggests that commodity fetishism structures how ideas work within that relationship. This qualifies, at the very least, the co-produced character of the collaboration, reproducing the colonialism of the situation. Commodity fetishism does so in this instance by shaping the terms in which a key debate moves regarding the relative epistemological roles of ‘scientific’ (linear) and ‘traditional’ (retroactive) conceptions of causality. Scientific conceptions come to be valued over traditional. My reading of those reflections identifies within the scientific position on causality, however, a state of ‘empty time’ (Deleuze 2013) capable of averting the reproduction of colonial relations. This possibility turns upon the granting of analytic priority to a particular kind of object in the development under colonial conditions of bi-cultural governance forms: that of the fantasy objects by which fetishistic attachments develop to explanatory mechanisms including models of causation.