Māori in Mexico. Transcultural Relationships between New Zealand
Project leader: Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr
Funded by the Contestable Research Fund, Faculty of Applied Humanities, School of Social Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (2007-2008)
This research project investigates the construction of ‘culture’ in encounters between Māori and Mexican secondary school students. It analyses how face-to-face relationships and lived experiences shape the perception of the ‘other,’ how differences are played out and how alterity is created and understood. Drawing on translocal fieldwork in Mexico and New Zealand, emphasis is placed on the impact of these encounters on cultural identity formations, imaginations and representations of one’s own ‘culture’ in contrast to the ‘other’. These experiences are embedded in movement and travelling to new places in both physical and imaginative ways. Travel is conceived of as both a mode of placemaking and interaction, impacting on the travellers and the people they engage with. Following a transcultural approach, it reveals the complex ways of creating both culture and places interactively and shows which cultural aspects are challenged, evoked and prioritised. It points to the ambivalent consequences of cross-cultural experiences. Simultaneously, tolerance for cultural otherness may increase, but one’s own cultural patterns, identities and viewpoints may be reinforced and partially essentialised. It becomes evident that travel, movement and border crossing shape cultural representation and identification, however this occurs in a multi-layered process.
Eveline Dürr (n.d.) Culture as Experience. Constructing Identities through Transcultural Encounters. In: van Meijl, Toon, Elfriede Hermann and Wolfgang Kempf (Eds) Identities, Movement and Placemaking in the Pacific. Oxford: Berghahn Books (forthcoming).