Fabricating "Pacific Islander": Pedagogies of Expropriation, Return and Resistance and Other Lessons from a "Multicultural Day"

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    24 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper is concerned with the potential for pedagogic practices that unsettle race hierarchies and open up possibilities for young people who are minoritised and excluded through these race hierarchies to be recognised as legitimate students and learners. It explores these possibilities through an analysis of an ethnographic account of the dance, song and musical practices of a group of ‘Pacific Islander’ students, their peers and their teachers at a ‘Multicultural Day’ event at a high school in Sydney, Australia. The paper demonstrates how processes of subjectivation constitute, and are the sites of struggle over, race hierarchies and brings these analyses together with an exploration of students’ and teachers’ identifications and investments and their struggles over recognition and subjectivity. Through these analyses the paper extends existing critiques of multicultural pluralism, demonstrating the fundamentally flawed nature of Multicultural Days of this sort and the pluralist multiculturalism that they are part of. The paper goes on to consider how teachers informed by critical race pedagogy might act to undercut race hierarchies and how discursive spaces might be created and sustained in which ‘Pacific Islander’ and ‘student’ and ‘learner’ are recognisable. The paper engages Judith Butler’s thinking on the inseparability of the Same and the Other and the promise of an open-ended and enduring invitation to ‘give an account of oneself’, considering whether we might begin to imagine this invitation as pedagogy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)141-155
    Number of pages15
    JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
    Issue number2
    Early online date6 Jul 2011
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


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