The Browning of the All Blacks: Pacific Peoples, Rugby, and the Cultural Politics of Identity in New Zealand
Grainger, Andrew David
Andrews, David L
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In this dissertation I examine how the complex, and often contradictory, discourses of being a 'Pacific person' are played out in, and through, New Zealand rugby. In particular, I interrogate how these discourses--manifest in various forms of public expression--structure, regulate, and, potentially, challenge traditional notions of nationality. In the opening chapters I first explore how liberal values and the goals of inclusion and pluralism have been an important part of defining New Zealand identity. In this regard Pacific peoples are playing an ever-more important role. I suggest, however, that an emergent 'Pacific multiculturalism' actually reinforces white cultural power. It also masks the way national belonging has been racialized in New Zealand, and the role rugby has, and continues to, play in inscribing the Otherness of Pacific peoples. What I suggest is needed is alternative or resistant models of 'culture.' In the concluding chapters I turn to the notion of diaspora as one potential alternative. Rearticulating the insightful ideas of Paul Gilroy in my penultimate chapter, I argue that diaspora can be productively adapted as a model to comprehend the lives, travels, migrations, and significances of Pacific athletes. I suggest they provide important diasporic resources for rearticulating modes of belonging that exceed national boundaries. Methodologically, this project is a discursive analysis of the public discourses of Pacificness circulating in a diverse range of documentary, literary, and media sources. I suggest that this critical analysis of the performance, practice, and institutions of Pacific/New Zealand rugby provides a unique context within which to examine the ensemble of discourses and forces by which identity is understood and produced, and through which the Pacific subject in constituted. My hope is that, in accord with Gilroy (1993), this analysis both identifies and actively produces alternatives to divisive discourses of national and ethnic absolutism. That is, my goal is to produce a text which not only critiques, but offers strategies of resistance to, the practices, structures, and ideologies of exclusion.