'Inclusive Exclusion': Managing Identity for the Nation's Sake in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Arena Journal, 2007, Spring, 28
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The threat that fast-moving processes of 'globalization' pose to the nation, whether as shifting markets, more cheaply produced goods, new technologies, or regional alliances, nowadays motivates calls from all quarters that we be more competitive, entrepreneurial, innovative, excellent. But globalization is a curious 'threat' given that the nation was founded on the back of the globalizing British Empire. The desire behind this call to get on board Team New Zealand or to invest in New Zealand Inc. is hardly very new. The economic viability of 'New Zealand' has always been an issue--the idea that we 'export or die'--and establishes the reductive core of its national identity. Thinking about settler society in a local historical and global context, I consider the economic basis of New Zealand's national identity: I question the basis of popular national chauvinism, or at least the local management of it; and I ask whether 'our' history provides ways of thinking about identity and belonging that might work better for everyone than an increasingly branded citizenship--that is, an identity which you consume, like any other kind of goods. I attend in particular to the prior difference in a 'new' country of indigenous people--the primary or base story of settler societies--that not only frames what I call a political economy of identity, but shapes, significantly, the future of the same place. The creeping 'maorification' of the public domain, despite ongoing vilification of special Maori rights, as against the rights of other New Zealanders, is self-evident (there is a real attempt in the media, for instance, to pronounce Maori words properly, and widespread acceptance of a role for Maori protocol in public life). The corollary of attending to a prior difference is not, I think, Maori separatism (dreadful to non-Maori), or Maori victimhood and guilty white colonialism, or white indigeneity (both disempowering for Maori). That said, one can hardly say 'first peoples' in New Zealand nowadays without getting an emotive and reactive response. The overdetermined response to 'first' anything at the very least indicates the force and charge of a long local history and, more deeply, illustrates a political economy or structure of national identity. I think there is much to be gained, given the increasing cultural diversity of my own neighbourhood in New Zealand, by recalling, and regaining, multiple modes of identity and belonging, and by softening the passive-aggressive posture of national identity--a posture which starts with a do-not-give-em-anything attitude towards tangata whenua (the local people of a place or people-place) and extends to other local people whose identities may not be based first and foremost in the nation.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Religion & Spirituality
- Published: 22 March 2007
- Publisher: Arena Printing and Publications Pty. Ltd.
- Print Length: 33 Pages
- Language: English