South Asia Down Under: Popular Kinship in Oceania

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    In this article I reflect on Indian and Pacific Islander relations in Fiji and New Zealand to ask what Pacific studies might offer South Asian diaspora studies and vice versa. For Pacific Islanders kinship orders relations between people, land and sea and remains the most powerful discourse of identity throughout Oceania. In Fiji and New Zealand White settler-colonial and indigenous Pacific rights and anxieties frame national identities and policies towards migrants. Within these contexts, the girmits in Fiji, and recent Asian and Pacific Islander migrants in both countries, must locate themselves with respect to dominant interests. I highlight popular culture, one of the most important tactics for national participation and visibility taken up by migrant groups. The concept of kinship, often limited to blood and social code, central to Pacific identities and anthropological studies in the region, is reclaimed to suggest popular, non-hegemonic, and multivalent relations between groups in contrast to the divisive ethnic discourses that have shaped Fijian and Indian relations for over a century.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)193-232
    JournalCultural Dynamics: Theory Cross-Cultures
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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