Accepted Paper:

Perceptions of purity and insularity in the context of globalisation  

Author:

Eveline Dürr (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Paper short abstract:

In the context of globalisation, claims to uniqueness become integral to national branding. In New Zealand, insularity and purity are linked together and contrasted with polluted continents. I detail the social meanings of ‘purity’ and New Zealand’s insularity in different cultural contexts.

Paper long abstract:

In the context of globalisation, claims to uniqueness and distinctiveness become integral to national branding. In the case of New Zealand, insularity and purity are linked together and turned into social capital contrasting polluted, overpopulated continents. Insularity promises authenticity, closeness to nature and harmony, which is hardly found in busy urban centres. New Zealand advertises itself as a "100% pure" nature reserve in the South Pacific where a unique endemic flora and fauna embedded in a majestic landscape is conserved. However, purity has many meanings when it is constructed in conjunction with insularity and remoteness. I will draw attention to diverse social meanings of 'purity' and discuss the construction of New Zealand's insularity in different cultural contexts. I will compare and contrast the range of attributes ascribed to 'purity' and 'insularity' in Germany and New Zealand revealing the imaginary construction of New Zealand in both countries. I argue that these imaginaries are based on powerful representations that impact on identities and self-perceptions in New Zealand and in Germany, but in a very distinct way.

Panel W005
Islands of Doom, Islands of Bliss: revisiting maritime places of conquest and exploitation, pleasure and consumption