Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Book Examines Impact Of Fiji Coup Pain And Terror

New Book Examines Impact Of Pain And Terror During Fiji Coup


How do ordinary people respond when their lives are irrevocably altered by terror and violence?

University of Auckland anthropologist Susanna Trnka was residing in an Indo-Fijian village in the year 2000 during the Fijian nationalist coup. The overthrow of the elected multiethnic party led to six months of nationalist aggression, much of which was directed toward Indo-Fijians. In her new book, State of Suffering Political Violence and Community Survival in Fiji (Cornell University Press, 2008), Dr Trnka shows how Indo-Fijians' lives were overturned as waves of turmoil and destruction swept across Fiji.

The book describes the myriad social processes through which violence is articulated and ascribed meaning - including expressions of incredulity, circulation of rumors, narratives, and exchanges of laughter and jokes. The book also reveals the ways in which the community engages in these practices as individuals experience, and try to understand, the consequences of the coup.

"In the face of pain and terror people use a variety of forms of expression such as jokes and rumours to help them get onto seemingly solid ground, in order to understand and survive in times characterised by a profound lack of normalcy. In that sense, terror and pain are shared experiences, as people try to make sense of what is going on in their daily lives," says Dr Trnka.

The Senior Lecturer in the University's Department of Anthropology also considers different kinds of pain caused by political chaos and social turbulence, including pain resulting from bodily harm, shared terror, and the distress precipitated by economic crisis and social dislocation.

Dr Trnka notes that in Fiji, where tensions exist between indigenous and non-indigenous communities, there is a marked difference between the way different communities use expressions of pain to emphasise their national and cultural identity.

"Indo-Fijians, for example, use pain as a way to express their rights to citizenship—they describe how they have worked, toiled and bled into the land as evidence that they belong in Fiji. In contrast, indigenous Fijians refrain from such a metaphor-- they talk instead about their history, their long-standing relationship to the land, as the reason they belong on the island," says Dr Trnka.

Throughout the book, the author focuses on the collective social process through which violence is embodied, articulated, and silenced by those it targets. Her sensitive ethnography is a valuable addition to the global conversation about the impact of political violence on community life.

State of Suffering Political Violence and Community Survival in Fiji (Cornell University Press, 2008) will be launched at the forthcoming Ownership and Appropriation conference will be hosted by The University of Auckland's Department of Anthropology 7-12 December. For conference and registration details visit www.theasa.org/asa08/

Susanna Trnka is co-author of Young Women of Prague and editor of Bodies of Bread and Butter: Reconfiguring Women's Lives in the Post-Communist Czech Republic.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland