ASAA/NZ August 2016 Newsletter
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In this issue:
Welcome from our Secretary
Tēnā koutou katoa ASAA/NZ members,
This issue of our newsletter opens with a tribute in honour of ASAA/NZ Honorary Life Member Professor Ann Chowning, who passed away in February 2016. This is followed with a number of news items, reports from two Honours students undertaking internships as part of their studies at Victoria University of Wellington, and a list of anthropology theses recently published at various universities in Aotearoa in 2015-16.

Many of you will have visited our new website,, which we launched in March 2016. I would like to thank Benedicta Rousseau, Piers Locke, Catherine Trundle, and Barbara Andersen for their efforts in developing it. The redesigned website attracts an average of 650 unique visitors per month (a significant increase on the previous site, which saw an average of five unique visitors per month) and nearly half of our traffic comes via our new Facebook page. Postgraduate student Harriet Lane-Tobin has been working as our website editor and her weekly web digests are proving very popular. My goal is to continue increasing our website traffic and for our site to be the hub for anthropology in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We are always on the lookout for content so please get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter and I look forward to seeing you at our conference in Christchurch in November.

Nāku noa, nā
Lorena Gibson, ASAA/NZ Secretary
Greetings from our Chairperson
Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich
Hello everyone,
I am sure you will have heard the recent news that Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Otago might be facing cuts. This follows the job cuts at the Australian National University earlier in the year, and on behalf of ASAA/NZ I wrote to the ANU’s Vice-Chancellor expressing our solidarity with our colleagues there in anthropology and related Pacific research areas.
This is an unsettling time for all. I would like to propose that we create space at our forthcoming conference to discuss how we might support our colleagues at Otago as we should have more information by then. Given the uncertainty facing the future of social sciences and humanities globally, it also seems timely to discuss what proactive efforts we could undertake regarding the future of anthropology in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

I would like to welcome Catherine Trundle to the ASAA/NZ Executive Committee, who is taking over my role as Victoria University of Wellington campus representative for the rest of this year, and Benedicta Roussau to the role of Kākano Fund Chair. We will call for nominations for ASAA/NZ executive officers and committee members via our email list prior to our Annual General Meeting, which will be held during our annual conference in November.

The 2017 conference is a joint ASA/AAS/ASAANZ conference and will be held in Adelaide. We have not yet set a venue for our 2018 conference so I would like to invite you to start thinking about which department might like to host.

I am looking foward to seeing most of you at our conference in Christchurch.

Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, ASAA/NZ Chairperson
Professor Ann Chowning, 1929-2016
Professor Ann Chowning came to Victoria University from the University of Papua New Guinea, where she was Associate Prof of Anthropology and Dean of Arts from 1970 until she moved to Wellington. She died peacefully in Auckland on February 25 2016.

A noted anthropologist and linguist, her life and achievements are well described by Judith Huntsman (2005). Born in Little Rock Arkansas, Ann attended Bryn Mawr College and received her PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania. She went on to teach at Barnard College, Columbia University before becoming a Senior Research Fellow at ANU prior to assuming her position at UPNG. After retiring from VUW Prof Chowning moved to Auckland where she regularly participated in seminars and other academic activities with a wide group of friends and colleagues in anthropology and related disciplines.

She was, even in the 1970s, a rare and fine example of the American ‘four-field’ approach to anthropology which demanded knowledge of pre-history, culture, linguistics, and physical anthropology. Her expertise in archaeology came from work in Tikal Guatemala and New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Her socio-cultural fieldwork in Molima, Kove, Lakalai and Sengseng (PNG) established her as a respected and accomplished fieldworker as well as linguist of Austronesian languages. She also published on female fertility in her fieldwork sites.

A festschrift in Ann’s honour published in 2005 is aptly titled “A Polymath Anthropologist Essays in Honour of Ann Chowning”. Most volumes of this type contain papers by former students and colleagues from a discrete branch of a subject that make passing reference to the person being honoured. But this book contains papers from archaeologists, linguists, physical and sociocultural anthropologists as well as seven contributions that are about Ann herself and how much she helped and influenced people who went on to become successful anthropologists. Prof Chowning worked tirelessly to promote anthropology in this university and collaborated with colleagues in other departments who shared her wide interests. She leaves a lasting legacy on anthropology in New Zealand, Melanesia, and beyond.

Respecting her wishes not to have a memorial service but wanting to share some reminiscences of the impact she had here, Ann’s colleagues at Victoria University of Wellington met together in early March. We recalled her unique teaching style – assigning readings which she then extensively criticised during lectures. The commitment to accuracy and fieldwork, and the importance of learning by observing, listening and participating more than by interviewing, came through in these critiques and in conversation. The linguists recalled how they greatly appreciated the way she stepped in to essentially serve as their professor for a few years until linguistics became well established at VUW. We remembered her ubiquitous raincoat and jandals, love of Mills and Boone and Georgette Heyer novels, and cats.

Ann never really wanted to retire but her time came before the compulsion to leave at 65 was removed. It may have been a blessing. Released from the pressures of teaching and administration; she moved north where she escaped the cold winds of Wellington and remained associated with anthropology and her colleagues at Auckland University’s larger department. Her last published work was a dictionary of Lakalai that appeared in 2015.

Chowning, Ann and Ward H. Goodenough. 2015. A dictionary of the Lakalai (Nakanai) language of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. 424pp. Available at:

Huntsman, Judith (with Ann Chowning). 2005. "Ann Chowning – Polymath anthropologist and traveller." In Claudia Gross, Harriet D. Lyons and Dorothy A, Counts, eds, A Polymath Anthropologist: Essays in Honour of Ann Chowning. Auckland: Department of Anthropology (Research in Anthropology & Linguistics Monograph No. 6), pp. ix-xvi.

Sperlich, Wolfgang B. and Andrew Pawley. 2015. The making of the Lakalai Dictionary.

Jim Urry and Hal Levine
ASAA/NZ Annual Conference: Resilience, Recovery, and Renewal, 24-26 November 2016
This year's annual conference is hosted by the University of Canterbury's Anthropology Programme. The call for papers is open until 15 October 2016. Please send paper titles and abstracts of approximately 100 words to Zhifang Song at

We invite papers that provide anthropological reflections on human endeavour in the face of threats, disasters, and other negative experiences. This includes natural disasters, whether partly caused by human activity or not – such as earthquakes, tsunamis or climate change, on which there is a growing literature, but we encourage papers that address this topic more generally.

There is a long list of negative experiences affecting the people anthropologists work with, such as land alienation, impoverishment, mining, enforced migration and other threats to livelihoods and survival. However, we wish to concentrate on the positive and innovative ways in which people have responded to them, on repair, renewal, recovery and resilience, on how through human endeavour people have adapted or remade their social institutions, or developed new ones, and forged strategies to fight for survival and dignity against odds. We are interested also in the conditions under which such responses succeed or fail, in the political, economic, demographic and cultural issues that impinge on this. In looking at how people perceive and respond to negative events, we are interested in the relevance of factors such as gender, age and ethnicity, and in what this tells us about the nature of culture and society more generally.

We also invite papers that expand this theme further by addressing questions of risk and its management, anthropological advocacy (which has its own risks), and topics such as human rights, diasporic identities, memorialization, rituals of remembrance, and dark tourism. We include also the threats faced by anthropologists and other social scientists as a community, from factors such as audit culture and university mismanagement.

As usual, papers which do not address these topics will also be considered for the conference. Post-graduates are particularly encouraged to contribute papers to the planned post-graduate sessions.

Conference registrations are now open.
Register before 15 October to obtain the early bird rate. ASAA/NZ members are also eligible for a discounted registration fee.

Early bird fees (in New Zealand dollars and including GST) are:

ASAA/NZ and AAS members = $175
Non-members = $200

Student registration = $125

Conference dinner = $60

The registration fee includes:

* attendance at all conference sessions;
* the welcome reception on 24 November;
* lunch on 25 and 26 November;
* morning tea/coffee on 25 and 26 November.
Visit our website for more information and to register:
Welcome to new staff at Victoria University of Wellington

My name is Caroline Bennett and I am excited to join the Anthropology Programme at Victoria. I arrived from the UK in January, after completing my PhD at the University of Kent.

My research focuses on conflict and violence, with particular attention to mass violence and genocide, and the political and cultural aspects of the post-conflict environment, as well as the treatment and identification of human remains, interests that evolve from a previous life as a forensic anthropologist. I’m also interested in visual culture and visual research methods, especially how to use creative techniques in research to open new avenues for study and ways to engage with the wider public.

My PhD research was in Cambodia, looking at mass graves from the Khmer Rouge regime but I’ve also lived and worked in the Balkans, the Middle East and Japan over the years.

My name is Eli Elinoff and I am thrilled to be joining the Cultural Anthropology programme as a new lecturer.

My research is set in Southeast Asia and considers the political and environmental implications of the region’s breakneck urban transition. I am currently conducting two long-term ethnographic projects that consider these issues from different angles. The first is situated in railway squatter settlements in the Northeastern Thai capital city of Khon Kaen. There, I have been documenting the emergence and foreclosure of new political claims among residents of these communities. I am currently working on a book manuscript that examines the intersection between new participatory urban housing projects and long-term struggles over land and citizenship in Khon Kaen. 

My second research project is a multi-sited ethnography that examines the political ecology of concrete in and around Bangkok in the wake of the devastating 2011 floods.

2016 Kākano Fund Awards and new Chairperson
The following graduate students received Kākano Fund Awards in the first round for 2016:
Veronica Adams, MA, Victoria University
Sharayne Bennett, MSocSci, Waikato University
Dylan Gaffney, MA, Otago University
Molly George, PhD, Otago University

In May 2016 the ASAA/NZ Executive Committee unanimously endorsed Waikato University representative Benedicta Rousseau as the new Kākano Fund Chairperson. We would like to thank Benedicta for taking on this important role.
Donate to the Kākano Fund
Recent book contributions by our members
Nancy Pollock has had a chapter published in Missing the Mark? Women and the Millennium Development goals in Africa and Oceania (2016). Published by Demeter Press - a Canadian not-for-profit organisation that promotes research on women's issues - this book contains a collection of papers addressing whether or not Millennium Development Goals 3 ("promote gender equality and empower women") and 5 ("improve maternal health") have made or missed their mark. Ethnographic case studies include Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Ghana, Malawi, Cameroon, and South Ethiopia.

Nancy's paper entitled “Reproductive Anomalies in the Marshall Islands” refers to the effects of nuclear testing fallout in 1954 on the ongoing health problems that Marshallese women are suffering 60 years later.
Sita Venkateswar's co-edited book (with Sekhar Bandyopadhyay), Globalisation and the Challenges of Development in Contemporary India, was published by Springer in April 2016. It emerges from the first conference of the New Zealand India Research Institute in August 2013 at Wellington, New Zealand. Entitled “Changing India: from decolonisation to globalisation,” the conference aimed to critically examine the changes underway in the subcontinent since independence in 1947. The event brought a diverse, international mix of India scholars to New Zealand as keynote speakers to enter into dialogue with “local” scholarship from the south-Pacific sites of Australia and New Zealand. This edited volume comprises some of the best papers presented at the conference, a selection based on their engagement with the most pressing issues confronting India.
Peter Adds, Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, Richard S. Hill, and Graeme Whimp are editors of Reconciliation, Representation and Indigeneity. 'Biculturalism' in Aotearoa New Zealand, published in August 2016 by Universitätsverlag WINTER, Heidelberg.

This book offers an up-to-date analysis of the reconciliation processes between Māori and the Crown by leading and emerging scholars in the field. It is the first attempt to grasp the link between contemporary politics, the notion of activist research, and historical and anthropological analysis. The argument this collection is based on is that reconciliation processes are manifested in much more than government policies, legal decisions and law-making.

In January 2016 Graeme Whimp published Anthropology of Law in the Pacific: Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography on the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PacLII) Pacific Legal Gateway. This contributes to a project on the anthropology of law in the Pacific: ‘Pacific Rules: international law, custom, postcolonial realities’; this stage of the project was funded by the University Research Fund of Victoria University of Wellington. They were designed to support articles to be written by the project investigators: principal investigator Associate Professor Petra Butler of the School of Law on dispute resolution; associate investigator Professor Richard Boast of the School of Law on land tenure; and associate Investigator Professor Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich of the Cultural Anthropology Programme of the School of Social and Cultural Studies on custom, law, and ritual.
SITES: A journal of social anthropology and cultural studies
Sites: a Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies is a peer reviewed journal dedicated to publishing scholarly papers which explore aspects of Pacific societies and cultures. ASAA/NZ has close links with Sites. Not only do we have representatives on the Sites editorial board, but we also frequently publish papers from our annual conferences in the journal.

'Neoliberal Culture/The Cultures of Neoliberalism: Studies from the Pacific Rim', Sites Vol 12, Issue 1, is a Special Issue edited by Jenny Lawn and Chris Prentice. It opens with a substantial introduction and scholarly review of the theme by the editors. They argue that despite the many disagreements over these key concepts, neoliberalism is sufficiently coherent to be 'an influential force on material life'. The six subsequent articles that comprise this issue trace neoliberal developments in Chile and New Zealand, address diverse remoralisations of market forms in Australia and New Zealand, canvass the complex interplay of neoliberal policies and Indigenous rights; and provide thought-provoking critiques of critiques of neoliberal universities.

Sites welcomes original papers focused on empirical studies or theoretical, methodological or pedagogical issues relevant to the study of societies and cultures of the wider Pacific region, including New Zealand, Australia, Oceania, the Pacific Rim, and their diasporas. Sites is published twice a year and is a delayed open access journal. All content is open to the public after 12 months.

Sites invites submissions from authors in the fields of anthropology, culture studies, indigenous studies, Maori studies, sociology, history, gender, linguistics, and ethnomusicology. The journal has an international editorial advisory board, an international circulation, and also welcomes work from scholars working outside the region on topics relevant to this region. For more information, contact the editorial team.
News from the field: PhD researcher Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul on fieldwork in Thailand
Victoria University of Wellington PhD researcher Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul conducting fieldwork "at home" in Thailand.
My ethnographic research explores the everyday experience of inclusion, exclusion and social participation of second generation migrant children in urban areas of Thailand. A majority of second generation migrant children in Thailand are “stateless”. Officially, they do not belong to any state. A few of my key informants do not have any paper to prove their existence in the “system.” (Note: in Thailand, some migrants have been issued an “unregistered in the system” card but they are allowed to stay in the country for ten years. So, not to have any proof of existence at all is worse than being “unregistered.”)

I have chosen Chiang Mai as my main field site due to its rather unique cultural heritage that allows for migrant communities (particularly the Shan) to “integrate” into the mainstream population better than in the other parts of the country, regardless of the prevalence of this “undocumented” reality. I decided to break my fieldwork into three phases: 5 months, 4 months and 3 months respectively.

Given that the focus of my first phase (September 2015 - February 2016) was on migrant children who are in a formal institution (i.e. Thai public school), I took a role of a part-time volunteer teacher and conducted participant observation in three schools in prime urban areas of Chiang Mai. I also conducted participant observation in certain spaces such as immigrant neighborhoods, workplaces of my key youth informants, academic fora related to my topic, religious festivals, as well as international meetings on the issue of migrant children.

In Thailand, any children regardless of their legal status are entitled to primary education under the 2005 Cabinet Resolution. All three schools where I taught as a volunteer teacher have a high enrolment rate of Shan students (more than 80 per cent). My presence and my bilingual proficiencies were highly welcome, and in one case, necessary as the school lacked teachers and resources (it relies on distant learning via TV). The other two schools needed an English teacher.
With the view of mountain range and the famous Doi Suthep temple, these districts are populated with expensive homes that have been built by Shan migrant labourers and often taken care of by Shan domestic workers. These districts are also close to Chiang Mai University, and thus are popular with students. Alongside these big housing projects and condominiums are where migrants have formed pockets of communities. They usually rent cheap run- down housing, or a small room shared by all family members. The rent is around 150-175 NZD per month (excluding utilities). The average income per household is around $708-$800 NZD a year. In S district, there is a weekly Shan market hosted by a local temple, where Shan food, clothing, home appliances and fresh produce are sold. My students proudly took me to this market. It became our weekly ritual to go to the market together and enjoy some Thai/Shan food.

Most children live within a walking distance or a short motorbike ride to the school. Their parents usually work in construction and cleaning services (cleaners in hotels, university, or domestic workers etc). Most children I have interacted with have been staying in this neighbourhood since their birth or a young age. Although a number of studies have pointed out that mobile nature of parents’ occupation as construction workers usually leads to interruption of children’s education, the ones I have talked to seem determined to give their children a stable childhood and community.

In my current phase of fieldwork (July/August - November 2016), I am planning to work with a local NGO which specializes in children in construction camp sites in order to expand my understanding of those who are in the more mobile group. My preliminary contact with this group shows that some migrant workers of other ethnicities such as the Cambodian, the Mon, the Burmese move wherever the company moves them to. Many children therefore face a very different reality from my phase 1 participants.

Janepicha (Bambi) Cheva-Isarakul, Victoria University of Wellington
ASAA/NZ Interns Harriet Lane-Tobin and Josh Connolly
This year we have two Cultural Anthropology Honours students from Victoria University of Wellington undertaking internships with ASAA/NZ as part of their degrees. At VUW, Honours students have the option of taking an internship paper which involves doing supervised voluntary work for an organisation. In the first half of the year, the interns worked with Lorena Gibson (who supervised them in her capacity as lecturer at Victoria University) and Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich (ASAA/NZ Chairperson) on two different projects.

Harriet Lane-Tobin took on the role of Website Editor and helped develop content for our new website. Josh Connolly's internship involves investigating how ASAA/NZ might go about establishing anthropology as a NCEA subject in New Zealand secondary schools (something we have discussed at previous AGMs).

Harriet and Josh have now finished their placements and in the second half of the year will each write two research papers based on their experiences. They will also present their research findings at this year's ASAA/NZ conference in Christchurch.

We asked Harriet and Josh to tell us a little about why they wanted to do an internship and reflect on their experiences so far.

Why an internship rather than a course?
by Harriet Lane-Tobin
Over the past few months I have been undertaking an internship for ASAA/NZ. As part of this internship I have been conducting interviews, writing blog posts, and creating content for the website instead of doing a fourth taught paper for my Honours degree at Victoria University of Wellington.

Originally I applied for this position as I saw it as an opportunity to apply the skills I learnt in my undergraduate BA in Cultural Anthropology and Media studies to a practical setting. I was hoping to transfer the knowledge I had gained into a multitude of settings and contexts and see if there was a practical element to the things I was learning. As the internship has gone on, I have indeed been able to do this in the digests I write every week for the ASAA/NZ blog.

These digests have allowed me to utilise the skills in critical thinking and analysis that I developed throughout my studies. In preparing the weekly digests I select 5-6 articles, often related to a theme or theoretical issue, and analyse them through a social science lens. I highlight the questions and issues that they raise and present them in what I view as an accessible manner. Moreover, writing these digests also allows me to see how the big theoretical frameworks from anthropology apply to ‘real’ world contexts - taking understandings I have developed from classrooms and textbooks and applying them to other settings and issues. I view this as a strength as it allows for me to expand my academic and verbal communication prowess whilst also creating a platform for people to learn about anthropology using examples that are accessible to them.

As part of my internship I have also been given the opportunity to do interviews for the ASAA/NZ site. This is also a positive experience as it has allowed me to practice my oral communication skills and enhance my interview technique both in and outside of academia.

Finally, both the digests and interviews have provided me with a platform to explore and grow as a writer. I consider writing very important as it is a transferable skill I will be able to use whether or not I pursue an academic career.So, why an internship? Whilst some argue against them due to their potential to be exploitative, I would say it is about balance. I have learnt many valuable skills in the classroom but I would say internships like this one open a door to knowing what can be done with them. It is not that one or the other prove more valuable, but pairing them is a real strength. I am very thankful for the experiences and insights I have gained from my time with ASAA/NZ.

Josh Connolly

An internship of course
by Josh Connolly
This year as part of my Honours course at Victoria University I have been completing a policy internship with ASAA/NZ as a stand-in for a regular course-work based paper. I have been researching the feasibility of bringing anthropology into the New Zealand curriculum as an NCEA subject and investigating what would be required to make this happen.

My applying for this role was based largely on my desire to gain a different kind of experience than that which a regular paper would afford me. For me, this was a chance to get a taste of the kind of work that might await me in the “real world”. Not only this, the idea that I would have the chance to influence ASAA/NZ policy and that my work would have some form of impact beyond that of a typical essay certainly had its appeal.

I am currently working on this project, and while it is not yet finished it has been and continues to be an opportunity for me to use and hone skills that will be very useful in the future. My research skills in particular have been both tested and, I’d like to think, improved. This internship also offers me a unique opportunity in that I will be presenting at the ASAA/NZ conference in Christchurch later this year, a chance that I would not have otherwise and one that will allow me to further develop my presentation and public speaking skills.

While people are often critical of internships, criticising them as being exploitative and balanced in favour of the organisations for whom they are undertaken, in this particular instance I have found that this is not the case at all. While of course the work I have done is of benefit to ASAA/NZ, the relationship is symbiotic in nature. ASAA/NZ gets a policy report relevant to their interests and potential future goals, and I perform work which contributes to my Honours workload but also gives me experience relevant to potential future employment. In this case my internship has been mutually beneficial and I consider myself very fortunate to have been afforded this opportunity.

Anthropology theses published in Aotearoa 2015-2016
This is a snapshot of anthropology theses completed and published at various universities in Aotearoa.
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Otago

Aikman-Dodd, Jade. 2015. Unto the breaking dawn: Finding meaning and relevance in marae in 21st century New Zealand: an Eastern Bay of Plenty case study. MA thesis.

Allen, Francesca L. 2015. Retrospective Anthracological Analysis of Two Early Coastal East Otago Polynesian Settlements. MA thesis.

Bower, Sheremma. 2016. A Woman’s Glory: A Study Exploring Experiences of Spiritual Power and the Gendered Lives of Women in Two Pentecostal Communities in the USA and New Zealand. PhD thesis.

Ding, Mei. 2015. The Travelling Minzu. Uyghur migration and the negotiation of identities in China and Australia. PhD thesis.

James-Lee, Tiffany M. 2015. Prehistoric Māori subsistence: Evaluating two regions in North-Eastern New Zealand. PhD thesis.

Lawrence, Megan S. 2015. Backyard Historical Archaeology: Unravelling past lives through analyses of the archaeological remains from 26 St. David Street, Dunedin. MA thesis.

Maxwell, Justin J. 2015. The Moriori: The integration of arboriculture and agroforestry in an east Polynesian society. PhD thesis.

Robinson, James. 2016.Tawhiti Rahi: "Nga Poito o te Kupenga o Toi Te Huatahi"  A multi-disciplinary study of Maori settlement of Tawhiti Rahi, an offshore island in northern New Zealand. PhD thesis.

Russell, Tristan. 2016. Tristan, Diet and Subsistence of the Hohi Mission Station: An Historical Archaeozoological Analysis. MA thesis.

Scarth, Bonnie. 2015. Contextualising vulnerability and the process of informed consent: Bereaved participants' perspectives of taking part in sensitive qualitative research. MA thesis.

Wardell, Susan. 2016. Living in the Tension: A cross-cultural comparative study of the meaning and management of care, self-care, and wellbeing across two communities of faith-based youth workers. PhD thesis.
"This journey has definitely changed me": An ethnographic narrative exploring disabled peoples' lives through embodied experiences and identity negotiation
MA thesis by Callan Sait, VUW, 2015

Following calls from both disability studies and anthropology to provide ethnographic accounts of disability, this thesis presents the narratives of nine people living with disability, focusing on what disability means to them, how it is incorporated into their identities, and how it shapes their lived experiences. While accounts of disability from disability studies often focus on the social model of disability (Shakespeare 2006) and emphasise social stigma and oppression (Goffman 1967, Susman 1994), anthropological accounts often emphasise the suffering and search for cures (Rapp and Ginsburg 2012) that is assumed to accompany disability. Both approaches have their benefits, but neither pay particularly close attention to the personal experiences of individuals, on their own terms.

By taking elements from both disciplines, this thesis aims to present a balanced view that emphasises the lived experiences of individuals with disability, and uses these experiences as a starting point for wider social analysis. The primary focus of this thesis is understanding how disability shapes an individual’s identity: what physical, emotional, and social factors influence how these people are perceived – by themselves and others? Through my participants’ narratives I explore how understandings of normal bodies and normal lives influence their sense of personhood, and investigate the role of stigma in mediating social encounters and self-concepts. Furthermore, I undertake a novel study of the role of technology in the lives of people living with disability. My work explores how both assistive and non-assistive (‘general’) technologies are perceived and utilised by my participants in ways that effect not just the physical experience of disability, but also social perceptions and personal understandings of the body/self.

I argue that although the social model of disability is an excellent analytical tool, and one which has provided tangible benefits for disabled people, its political nature can sometimes lead to a homogenisation of disabled experiences; something which this thesis is intended to remedy by providing ethnographic narratives of disability, grounded in the embodied experiences of individuals.
Victoria University of Wellington

Bryers-Brown, Tarapuhi. 2015. “He reached across the river and healed the generations of hara”: Structural violence, historical trauma, and healing among contemporary Whanganui Māori. MA thesis.

Guthrie, Olliver D. 2015. Playing the Game and Pulling the Fingers: Working for and against the modern University. MA thesis.

Hancock, Tayla, 2015. Life in this Fat Body: Exploring the multiple realities of fat embodiment. MA thesis.

Russell, Hollie F. 2015. Ngā Whare Rau o Te Tahinga: Rakaipaakatanga and Post-Settlement Futures. MA thesis.

Sait, Callan. 2015. “This journey has definitely changed me”: An ethnographic narrative exploring disabled peoples’ lives through embodied experiences and identity negotiation. MA thesis.
University of Waikato

Forde, Jacinta. 2015. Health, Culture and Lifestyle in Contemporary Tonga: With Particular Reference to Diabetes and Diet. Master of Social Sciences.

Mahit, Lavinia. Reconciling Kastom and Modernity in Contemporary Vanuatu. Master of Social Sciences.

Phillips, Laura. 2015. Community-Based Tourism Development in Long Lan Village, Luang Prabang, Laos. Master of Social Sciences.
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