237.131 Independent Study Week #5

Week 5: Colonisation and Nationalism

Task 1 (5 minutes)

REFLECT: Have a look at your responses to the independent study from last week, how did this weeks class discussion deepen or help develop and expand your initial understanding? You could write about this in a sentence or two, or you could go back and add to your original notes.

We didn’t really talk through our independent study in this week’s tutorial.

Task 2 (3 hours)

READ: "A "Kiwi" At My Table" by Robyn Kenealy. This is an essay by a former 2nd year student on nationalism and food advertising in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and is an excellent example of how to apply international theoretical texts and concepts to local examples. The concept of 'banal nationalism', for instance, was developed by Michael Billig in response to the American political situation, but here has been applied to food advertising in Aotearoa. Similarly, Benedict Anderson developed the idea of 'imagined communities' in an international context, but is being used here to analyse a local context.

REFLECT: Summarise the key points of Kenealy's essay.  Can you think of other advertisements in Aotearoa which uses similar Nationalist rhetoric to sell its products? Have a look at Ngā Taonga's exhibition of advertisements. Choose an example and mind-map the various ways in which you can see it reiterating the overall thesis around nationalism and advertising.

Kenealy asserts that commonplace advertisements that are at first glance innocuous can be part of a more insidious reinforcement of nationalistic attitudes. He uses as examples two examples of adverts – one for ketchup, one for bread – that reflect what he calls “common tropes of ‘kiwi-ness'”, and posits that the adverts seek to build an association with a viewer’s perceptions of national identity, and through that (presumably) increase the desire of the viewer to purchase them. He further argues that the undesirable side-effect of this approach to advert is to reinforce and further normalise these stereotypes, to the detriment of a more inclusive society.

It sounds like the Tip Tap advert in particular strays beyond banal nationalistic pointers to implied togetherness and “kiwi-ness”, but also starts to point to that as somehow being different, perhaps even better, than a vaguely defined “other”. This is more of a shift towards more dangerous forms of nationalism, and it would have been interesting to see the advert to see how this was portrayed.

While looking for that advert, I did re-watch what is known to be the UK’s “favourite advert”, which coincidentally is also for bread.

Hovis ‘Bike’ Advert 1973 (Britain’s Favourite TV Ad)www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Mq59ykPnAE. Accessed 17 Aug. 2021.

This also plays (strenuously) on a kind of idyllic view of England, and could well have become the subject of a British version of Kenealy’s paper, were one to be written.

FURTHER REFLECTION: Break Kenealy's essay down - how is it structured? What elements are introduced in the first section, and how are these used in the second section, when analysing their examples? How are Anderson and Billig used as the framework for the analysis?

The citations for Anderson and Billig are as follows:

Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities, (New York: Verso, 1991) 
Billig, Michael, Banal Nationalism, (Sage: London, 1995)

Kenealy deconstructs the arguments from both cited authors so that he can use their key themes as a set of acid tests for his own arguments. For example, he states that the advertisements under discussion are not inherently responsible for nationalistic evil but, by using Billig’s work as a test for banal nationalism, he is able to position the advertisements on a nationalistic scale as being representative of a wider pattern in society.

Extension: This activity is not compulsory, however if you would like to explore concepts of nationalism and the nation further, read Benedict Anderson's Introduction to Imagined Communities. Write a paragraph defining his conception of 'imagined communities' and its relationship to ideas around nationhood and the state. Think of one example where you could apply his ideas in an Aotearoa/New Zealand context. 

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Task 3 (4 hours) Self-directed study on your first assignment

WRITING and MAKING: Continue self-directed work on your assignment. Complete your practical work to bring to class next week and continue refining and revising your writing if needed. Compile your reference list (make sure all the sources you have cited and/or quoted in your writing are included in your reference list). Use the Massey OWLL site to check your citations and reference list formatting. You will find the link to the OWLL site and the MLA 8 document in the Assessment information and Drop-boxes section.

NOTE: You will need to bring a print out of your assignment work to class next week.

The reframing of the Discovery Doctrine to put it into a context where all humans take a similar doctrine is an essential part of reframing Sixth Sense into something that reflects my personal views of how humans interact with the natural world.

Humans are an animal that has historically seen no reasons to protect indigenous ecosystems, and the species has felt it have a right to exploit new environmental niches.

Like other species, humans have a fundamental niche. However, unlike other species, humans are able to create a realized niche too, by adapting the environment to suit their preferences.

Humans have also expanded the dimensions of their realized niche by managing the intensity of their interactions with other species. Humans control their own competitors, predators, parasites, and diseases, thereby reducing the constraints that these biological stressors exert on the realized, human niche. Humans also manage the ecological constraints of their mutualistic plants and animals such as agricultural cows, pigs, chickens, and plant crops.

Niche – What Is The Niche Of Humans? https://science.jrank.org/pages/4664/Niche-What-niche-humans.html. Accessed 13 Aug. 2021.

This is the Discovery Doctrine that I hope to reference in my piece, and it has had a devastating impact on ecosystems around the world, as humans arrive, colonize, adapt, and destroy.

As part of my painting, I propose to include a list of extinct bird species, representative of the damage that human have done to the indigenous biodiversity of Aotearoa.

List of New Zealand animals extinct in the Holocene

It’s ironic to me that approximately the same number of species have been driven to extinction by Māori colonization of Aotearoa as have gone extinct since European colonization.