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ERIC Number: EJ820480
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
Outspoken Indigenes and Nostalgic Migrants: Maori and Samoan Educating Performances in an Aotoearoa New Zealand Cultural Festival
Gershon, Ilana; Collins, Solonaima
Teachers College Record, v109 n7 p1797-1820 2007
Background/Context: Theorists of civil society often view civil society as a site for democratic education. Civil society is supposed to assist democratic practice by offering people contexts in which they practice promoting the common good. This article, following Nina Eliasoph's intervention, takes this to be a claim requiring ethnographic exploration. The article provides an ethnographic answer to the question, What do people actually tell each other about the common good or national well-being in civil society moments? To explore this question, the authors turn to how a Samoan cultural group and a Maori cultural group rehearse and perform in a citywide high school cultural festival in Auckland. Purpose: This article compares how migrant high school students and indigenous high school students use performances of traditional songs and dances to explore their relationships to the New Zealand nation. The article examines how the rehearsals take place, particularly who disciplines whom and how different levels of expertise are displayed. The authors compare how tutors circulate knowledge and discipline in the rehearsals with how the students perform their relationships to the New Zealand nation on stage. Setting: We conducted ethnographic research at two different high schools in West Auckland, New Zealand. Population: We observed two cultural groups with approximately 20 high school students in each. We also interviewed approximately 10 teachers and tutors who had been involved in preparing Samoan and Maori cultural groups for this festival. Research Design: This was a qualitative case study. We observed rehearsals for 8 weeks and conducted semistructured interviews with students and teachers. Conclusions/Recommendations: The authors argue that through the rehearsals and the performance, the Samoan migrant students and the indigenous Maori students adopt different relationships to the nation. The Samoan migrant students see themselves as more aligned to Samoa as the homeland that few of them have visited. They are out of place in the New Zealand nation and use nostalgic performances to perform this sense of dislocation. The Maori students, on the other hand, use the performances to express a political disenchantment with the New Zealand nation. They are constantly critiquing government policies in the context of these performances. In short, both Samoan and Maori students are expressing the ways in which they do not belong to the nation through their engagements.
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand