Accepted Paper:

Bi-cultural politics in a cosmopolitan city: Latinos' experiences in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand  


Eveline Dürr (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I give voice to Latin Americans as a small, low-profile migrant community in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand. I explore their positing in the urban social matrix with particular reference to New Zealand’s official policy as a bi-cultural nation, aspiring an equal partnership between indigenous Māori and Pākehā (European New Zealanders).

Paper long abstract:

Migrants' experiences in Auckland are mediated by New Zealand migration politics and the country's official definition as a bi-cultural nation, based on an idea of equal partnership between indigenous Māori and Pākehā (European New Zealanders), as articulated in the Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 by Māori chiefs and the Crown. Due to the country's revised immigration laws in the late 1980s, the cultural composition of Auckland has changed enormously in the last decades. Increasing non-white immigration has challenged New Zealand's national identity as a bi-cultural, but predominantly white society in the South Pacific. However, it is unclear where other ethnic groups are situated in this bi-cultural framework. In this paper, I give voice to the relatively small, low-profile Latin American community in Auckland and explore their experiences of cultural belonging and social positioning in this particular urban setting. Based on ethnographic interviews and discursive accounts, I scrutinise their understanding of bi-culturalism in a cosmopolitan context. I am particularly interested in their self-positioning in the wider social matrix and in the contested forms of (self)-inclusion and exclusion. I situate these practices in migrants' biographies as they are shaped by political ideas, class, and economic opportunities. I argue that these conditions affect migrants' perceptions of 'belonging' and 'being in the right place' in the urban ambit.

Panel W078
Mutuality's margins: contesting cosmopolitanism in the rescaled city