Death and Disposal of a peoples singer.

27 05 2009

Hey guys,

Its a bit of a mission to find this article, so I thought I’d make it easier by providing a link for you. Here you go 🙂

Im hoping it will work even of you’re not on a Uni computer, as you have to access it through their database….

UPDATE; it works! It just asks you to sign in under you vic username etc then takes you to the site. If you wnat to download it click the PDF version. Have fun!

Some weddings and a funeral(reading)

21 05 2009

So at the moment in class we are mainly focussing on marriage, a ritual of creation (creation of a new family structure, new relationship, new status, new obligations) whil our readings are focussing on death ( how it has been treated, constructed over time, and the use of the tangi as Maori resistance against pakeha hegemony).

The two come together in the current controversy over Christine Rankin and her (fourth) marriage. She has been given a position in the Families Commisson, where she would decide what is best for NZ families. Coming into question is whether she should have been appointed to this role, as her private life does not coincide with the values of the commission; she is onto her fourth marriage to begin with, and she married her current husband 72 days after his wifes death.

I dont want to make any judgements on the situation, but the reactions to it raise interesting questions about society and morality. First of all, I did not realise that his wife had actually committed suicide. Instead the media refer to her death as having ‘no suspicious circumstances’. There is a taboo about categorising a death as suicide. This can be to protect the deceased family, though this also begs the question what makes suicide shameful that is must be ignored in this way.

Secondly, is there a prescribed amount of time for which a family must mourn? In the tangi reading it said that mourning concluded with the unveiling of the headstone a year after the death, or in previous generation the bones would be exhumed, cleaned and reburied secretly. North-Korea had a set period which the whole country had to observe, in mouring for their dead leader Kim Il-Sung.

Thirdly, does the insitution of marriage have the same symbolic potency in re-marriages? or in this case re-re-re-marriages? It is no longer about status as the participants have already proved in previous marriages their status as adults. Perhaps the act of divorce (or anullment) is like the seperation stage in liminal rituals, so the person must get remarried to move on to the reinterrgration stage, or forever remain in limbo as a divorcee. This would mean though, that people are defined by their relationships, and I dont think that should be what defines a person. Hmmm.

Lastly, the issue seems to imply that officials are expected to practise what they preach; exhibit the values of the people or entity they are representing. This calls for officials to be morally superior. However this is constantly sown to be a naive expectation ( President Clinton, the Italian President, Don Brash, various corrupt and unloyal public officials). Government or tribal elites are meant to uphold the values of a society through their own example.

Phew, that enough stream of consciusness for today, I hope at least some of it made sense.

With the going down of the sun…

4 05 2009

Hi all,

Just thought I’d share the approach I’m taking with the second essay. Im looking at ANZAC day as a political ritual constructed to be inclusive not diversive. Im going to look at how the symbolism and rhetoric creates a sense of ‘oneness’. I’ll contrast it to Waitangi day in some places, which is a day that is more often controversial than brings the country together. ANZAC day is a day where the actions and sacrifices of all New Zealanders involved is remembered and honoured, unlike Waitangi day when inherited guilt is often felt by Pakeha, and is used for protesting and activism.

I went to the Wellington Dawn parade, and the Seatoun RSA parade later on in the morning and will also look at how each of there ceremonies approached the idea of inclusion.

Yep, now just have to get writing!


30 04 2009

Why, hello again. Sorry for my long absence from the world of blogging. This post is about the readings for this week (at least I think they’re the right ones…) and tha points that I found interesting.

The first reading about may day in poland.

  • The way the meaning of a seemingly long standing ritual can be changed and used to the advantage of the ruling elite.
  • A ritual  can be de-routinized and re-routinized. This is usually brought about by times of conflict.
  • The reasons people participated varied of the decade; people were either forced to, used the celebration as an opportunity to socialise, or participated out of enthusiasm.
  • I was interested in how people willfully ignored the political aspects of the day and used it to reconnect with people in there community, since the rules of the regime made this more difficult. They enjoyed the entertainment and excesses of the day while actively ignoring the political message and construction of the ritual.
  • The representation of the day changed from worker pride, to socialization, to socialism and to nationalism. The show of unity was often more important than actually instilling unity.
  • May Day was used by both sides; the government and socialists vs. the anti-regime protesters. By challenging the day meant to symbolise national unity and pride the protestors broke down the facade of the regime. They connected with the pre-war feeling of the day, creating a sense of morale.

The second reading, Bartoks Funeral.

  • Also shows how the meaning behind a politically enfused event (in the case the Hungarian funeral of Bartok) can be manipulated by opposing parties.
  • The opposition was between those who wanted the country to become more European, and those who wished to celebrate and protect its heritage.
  • “allegory, decontextualisation and myth were used to reinforce and recreate the image of Bartok as a national hero.
  • The government was using the funeral of Bartok to create support for them in a time of economic difficulty and accusations of mismanagement.

I think both readings showed an intriguing vulnerability of rituals to be consumed by the plitical machine and transformed into a metaphor for the soveriegnty of the state. However they also show the way these same rituals can be used by those not holding power, in an attempt to regain power and the true meaning of national rituals.

Weekly randomness

20 03 2009

Here and here. Not academic, but a bit of fun anyway.

I found the lecture today very good, mainly for the insight into the readings for this week. I found the readings very hard going, the first one was hard to read, although it did explaining the meaning and significance behind the events. The second one was easier to read, but seemed less relevant.

Interesting points…

  • The removal of gender barriers; the feminine is at the heart of this event, although it takes place in a very male orientated and dominated society. The horse (being female or ‘neutered’), and prize (the banner) both are representations of the feminie through their links to Mary.
  • The intertwining of the sacred and profane; the race was held to honour Mary, who is a symbol of purity and holiness, but many of the words associated with the race had double meaning often which were impure or in some way sexual.
  • The relation of the secular and religious; the first reading put a lot of emphasis on the religious and secular roles within the ritual. It is about pride and identity for the contrada (a secular group), but at the same time is used to honour the virgin Mary (religious) and includes many religious aspects (the horse is blessed in the church). It also involves superstitious aspects such as the firing of a gun(?) in the town square to see which way the pigeons will fly, as this is meant to indicate which contrada will win. The Palio also encourages violence in the rivalry between the contradas, with horses and people being poisoned etc. Not exactly love thy neighbour…

Street fighter…

18 03 2009

I did my first bit of observation yesterday, and found it very interesting, the time I choose coincided with the St Patricks college boys being let out (for St Patricks day obviously), so it will be interesting to go back and see what the arcade is like without that element in play. I’ve chosen the timezone on Manners Mall for my observation location.

But more about that later.

This is just a quick note (back on uni internet as one of my flatmates kindly used up all our internet), and to let you know of a interesting DVD I found up in the AV suite (level 9) of the library.

Communicating between culture (DVD05537)

‘Some cultural givens are so deeply inbedded in thought patterns they are invisible to those who hold them’.

Thought it sounded pretty relevant for our study, I havent watched it (yet) but will let you know if I do.

See you all Friday.

People watching…

11 03 2009

So, Im a big fan of people watching, but as soon as it was made into an assignment I couldnt come up with an exciting or stimulating idea. Thought about elevator etiquette, but I think someone nabbed that already so I had to try and find something else. So, after much thinking (ouch) I thought about video game arcades.

Its an activity that is both social and anti-social (as you are interacting with machines more than people), competitive, yet you dont meet your opponents, and genuinely intrigues me as Ive never really seen the appeal in them. This way I can bring an outsiders view, to find out who interacts in these places, how they interact, and their motives for playing these games. Perhaps there is even some Geertz-ian ‘deep play’ involved. Hmm…

Well, thats all my thoughts for now, will update soon with reading responses and attempt to create a blogroll… Maybe. See you in class, at the horrible hour of 9am.