|Type of event:||Annual Conference|
Performing Belonging in the 21st Century - 27-30 June 2017
The Maori concept of turangawaewae suggests a place to stand, a homeland, a way of belonging. Belonging, like identity, is a matter of ongoing performance: on stages and in the streets, in community halls, clubs, sporting arenas, churches and parliaments. In ‘Belonging and the politics of belonging’ (Patterns of Prejudice 2006), Nira Yuval-Davis observes that ‘Belonging is about emotional attachment, about feeling “at home”’ (197), and later notes:
The politics of belonging includes also struggles around the determination of what is involved in belonging, in being a member of a community, and of what roles specific social locations and specific narratives of identity play in this. (205)
Belonging may be deeply felt, but it is also manifestly constructed and capitalised upon, a matter of collectivity and communality, of inclusion and also of exclusion. We make ourselves into an ‘us’ by marking others as ‘them’, say we are of this place and they are not. Belonging is thus also a matter of desire, as much of longing to be as it is of being per se. Echoing Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis, who want to ‘rediscover the sense of belonging as a viable alternative to fragmentation, atomization, and the resulting loss of sensitivity’ (Moral Blindness 2013: 12), we invite participants to think out loud about the diverse ways that belonging can be seen to be performed, onstage and off in the 21st century.
Dr Sharon Mazer, Associate Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies, Auckland University of Technology: email@example.com