Title

The Body as a Battlefield of Resistance: Cracking the Skulls of the System in a Polynesian Performance

Presenter Information

Patrick Molohon

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 271

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Polynesia, Tourism, Neoliberalism

Abstract

Through the analysis of a Marquesan haka performance in a touristic setting in Tahiti, this paper explores the notion of the Polynesian body as a site of struggle between the gaze and premonitions of cosmopolitan French tourists of the exotic other, and the resistance and self-interiorizing of the body by Marquesans. Many contemporary Marquesans choose to migrate to the more urbanized, popular tourist destination of Tahiti, for work, schooling, and medical procedures. Removed from their native land, Marquesans still build upon traditional cultural practices and worldviews, while simultaneously actively creating innovative aspects of their experience in the new setting. My analysis is based on stories of how tourist performances create and affirm Marquesan culture, gathered through ethnographic research, participant observation, and interviews in August, 2014, in Pape’ete, Tahiti. How does the body, prone to commoditizing processes within the tourist system, also emerge as a site of moral economy, community empowerment, and generalized reciprocity?

Faculty Mentor(s)

Lene Pedersen

Department/Program

Resource Management

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology & Museum Studies

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May 21st, 11:40 AM May 21st, 1:00 PM

The Body as a Battlefield of Resistance: Cracking the Skulls of the System in a Polynesian Performance

SURC 271

Through the analysis of a Marquesan haka performance in a touristic setting in Tahiti, this paper explores the notion of the Polynesian body as a site of struggle between the gaze and premonitions of cosmopolitan French tourists of the exotic other, and the resistance and self-interiorizing of the body by Marquesans. Many contemporary Marquesans choose to migrate to the more urbanized, popular tourist destination of Tahiti, for work, schooling, and medical procedures. Removed from their native land, Marquesans still build upon traditional cultural practices and worldviews, while simultaneously actively creating innovative aspects of their experience in the new setting. My analysis is based on stories of how tourist performances create and affirm Marquesan culture, gathered through ethnographic research, participant observation, and interviews in August, 2014, in Pape’ete, Tahiti. How does the body, prone to commoditizing processes within the tourist system, also emerge as a site of moral economy, community empowerment, and generalized reciprocity?