Decolonisation is a relation: Avril Bell, ‘Decolonizing conviviality and “becoming ordinary”: cross-cultural face-to-face encounters in Aotearoa New Zealand’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2015
Abstract: This paper explores convivial culture in a settler society. The paper draws on interview data from ethnographic research exploring how Māori and Pākehā worked together on a building project in a rural community. Both Māori and Pākehā participants reported their pleasure in engagements with each other that centred on Māori tikanga (protocols). In these encounters, Māori ‘difference’ was the catalyst for the development of new, convivial relationships. The paper argues that such everyday conviviality contributes to the process of decolonizing Māori–Pākehā relations at the level of everyday life. Through decolonizing conviviality Pakehā ‘become ordinary’ in Māori cultural contexts, and are offered the opportunity to come to understand themselves as embedded in colonial relationalities. Crucial to the development of such conviviality is the opportunity for face-to-face, embodied encounters with Māori in contexts where Māori cultural difference matters.
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