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Belonging in Oceania

Belonging in Oceania: Movement, Place-Making and Multiple Identifications

Elfriede Hermann
Wolfgang Kempf
Toon van Meijl
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Belonging in Oceania
    Book Description:

    Ethnographic case studies explore what it means to "belong" in Oceania, as contributors consider ongoing formations of place, self and community in connection with travelling, internal and international migration. The chapters apply the multi-dimensional concepts of movement, place-making and cultural identifications to explain contemporary life in Oceanic societies. The volume closes by suggesting that constructions of multiple belongings-and, with these, the relevant forms of mobility, place-making and identifications-are being recontextualized and modified by emerging discourses of climate change and sea-level rise.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-416-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction Movement, Place-making and Cultural Identification Multiplicities of Belonging
    (pp. 1-24)
    Wolfgang Kempf, Toon van Meijl and Elfriede Hermann

    Oceania is characterized by a high and increasing level of movement – travel as well as migration. What implications do movement and mobility have for place-making, for cultural identifications and for multiple ways of belonging in the Pacific region? It is our conviction that anthropological studies of Oceania are well suited to analyse ongoing dialogues between formations of place, community, identity and self within a framework of mobility and global connectivity. The present volume therefore aims at studying movement and the cultural constructions of place and identity as an intersecting ensemble.

    This collection of chapters specifically seeks to show that movement...

  5. 1 Culture as Experience Constructing Identities through Transpacific Encounters
    (pp. 25-48)
    Eveline Dürr

    In this chapter,¹ I investigate an encounter of Māori and Mexican secondary-school students, which was initiated and organized by a Māori immersion school located on Aotearoa New Zealand’s North Island. In 2006, thirty-one Māori school students, aged roughly between twelve and seventeen, and five teachers and parents visited a private school in a state capital in southern Mexico.² The aims of their visit were to improve the students’ Spanish language skills, as Spanish is part of the school’s curriculum, and to provide a window onto the world for the students, trying to enhance their knowledge about other cultures and foster...

  6. 2 ‘Forty-plus Different Tribes’ Displacement, Place-making and Aboriginal Tribal Names on Palm Island, Australia
    (pp. 49-70)
    Lise Garond

    Palm Island residents commonly define themselves as Aboriginal and/or sometimes Torres Strait Islanders, Murris,¹ or ‘Blackfellows’, as well as ‘Palm Islanders’. Many of the islanders also present themselves as belonging to one or several tribes and regions, from which they, or from which their forebears, were removed during the colonial period, when Palm Island was a government reserve. Today, with over three thousand residents, Palm Island, a small island in north-east Queensland, is also one of the largest ‘Aboriginal communities’ in Australia.² Until the late 1970s and early 1980s, most of these localities were known as ‘Aboriginal reserves’, or ‘missions’:...

  7. 3 Coconuts and the Landscape of Underdevelopment on Panapompom, Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 71-93)
    Will Rollason

    Panapompom is a small island in the Louisiade Archipelago of Milne Bay Province, a chain of islands running roughly north-west to southeast, somewhat to the south and east of the famous ‘kula ring’ (Malinowski 1922; Leach and Leach 1983). The island’s population is some 500 people at any one time. North Panapompom has a population of about 360, of whom about 150 are adults and forty to sixty are active men.¹ A typical island community for the region, Panapompom people live from shifting horticulture, cultivating yams, cassava, bananas and sweet potatoes, and fish the lagoon that surrounds the island.²


  8. 4 Invisible Villages in the City Niuean Constructions of Place and Identity in Auckland
    (pp. 94-116)
    Hilke Thode-Arora

    The above quotations from interviews with women from the Polynesian island of Niue evoke two associations connected with the city of Auckland in New Zealand: a place where one is controlled by events and one cannot be autonomous regarding one’s time and work, and even a place which bears all the baleful connotations, including cultural uprooting and powerlessness, of biblical Babylon and the Babylonian captivity – a potent image when used by a speaker who, like all middle-aged and elder Niuean women, knows her Bible. These quotations serve as examples of the variety of ways in which Niueans living...

  9. 5 Migration and Identity Cook Islanders’ Relation to Land
    (pp. 117-141)
    Arno Pascht

    For Cook Islanders today, travel to New Zealand or Australia in order to work, study, visit relatives or for other purposes is a normal occurrence. Movement of this kind is an integrated aspect of everyday life for many of them, and influences their thoughts and actions. David Chapell accordingly considers Cook Islanders, together with Niueans and Tokelauans, as ‘perhaps the most transnational peoples of Oceania’ (Chapell 1999: 282).Like many other inhabitants of Oceania, they are engaged in a process that Epeli Hau‘ ofa called ‘world enlargement’ (Hau‘ofa 1994: 151, 155).Whereas the population of the Cook Islands in 2007 was 11,800,...

  10. 6 Protestantism among Pacific Peoples in New Zealand Mobility, Cultural Identifications and Generational Shifts
    (pp. 142-163)
    Yannick Fer and Gwendoline Malogne-Fer

    According to the United Nations Population Fund, Oceania has the largest concentration of immigrants in its population (15.2 per cent) of any region, most of them living in Australia and New Zealand. Auckland – which includes 67 per cent of the 266,000 Pacific islands migrants – has thus become the largest Polynesian city in the world. Considering the particular strength of Christian faith on their home islands, and the fact that contemporary Polynesians tend to consider Christianity as a pillar of their cultural or ‘traditional’ identity, the establishment of several Polynesian churches in New Zealand may at first glance be interpreted as...

  11. 7 Identity and Belonging in Cross-cultural Friendship Māori and Pākehā Experiences
    (pp. 164-188)
    Agnes Brandt

    In a world characterized by the increasing movement of goods, bodies, images and ideas, the ambiguities of cultural interchanges and borderline conditions generate multiple interconnections between persons, groups and places from which emerge a new variety of social relationships and modes of identification (cf. Clifford 1997; Featherstone 2001; Kirby 2009b).

    In New Zealand, the colonial experience has had important implications for the place of both Māori and Pākehā New Zealanders – the descendants of the indigenous and the European settler population.¹ In conjunction with migration flows from the Pacific island area, Asia and other parts of the world, this has led...

  12. Epilogue Uncertain Futures of Belonging Consequences of Climate Change and Sea-level Rise in Oceania
    (pp. 189-213)
    Wolfgang Kempf and Elfriede Hermann

    Theoretical perspectives of movement, place-making and multiple identifications provide an analytical frame for capturing and representing core aspects of the realities which Pacific Islanders now face at home and abroad. The previous chapters in this volume offer insights into this world of contacts, networks and articulations. Place, culture and identity are seen as open, changeable, intrinsically heterogeneous domains of experience. Belonging describes a complex process of dialogue, involving diverse dimensions and directions. At the methodological level, the principal challenge is to combine the analysis of historically evolved practices of Pacific Islanders, including their politics and place-making, with a contemporary, more...

  13. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 214-216)
  14. Index
    (pp. 217-224)