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Alex McConville

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2018
College of Health


Thesis Title
An Affective Politics of National Life.

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Days of national commemoration are rich in meaning and emotion. From news coverage, to political discourse, and people's ordinary conversations, national days involve complex processes of inclusion and exclusion, remembering and forgetting, and commonality and conflict. As such, feelings that circulate can often encompass everything from determined indifference, to proud patriotism, to overt displays of anger and irritation. Mr McConville's research focused on Pākehā emotional experiences of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day within the context of colonisation and bicultural relations with Māori. Drawing on recent theorising in critical social psychology, it examined a variety of areas including media representations of each day, focus group reflections, event organiser interviews, and activist struggles. Findings suggest that feelings and emotions across the majority, though not all, of the domains explored tend to favour Pākehā social and cultural life and lack much in the way of working towards a mutually beneficial Treaty partnership with Māori.

Professor Timothy McCreanor
Professor Margie Wetherell
Professor Helen Moewaka Barnes