Terms of Ambivalence: Cultural Politics and Symbolic Exchange
This essay initiates a conversation with the work of Penny van Toorn, specifically two essays—'Discourse/Patron Discourse: How Minority Texts Command the Attention of Majority Audiences' (1990), and 'Tactical History Business: The Ambivalent Politics of Commodifying the Stolen Generations Stories' (1999). The essay focuses on works by two Māori writers, Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace. 'As van Toorn points out of Aboriginal Australian writing, Ihimaera's and Grace's works assert the subjectivity of previously marginalised or silenced peoples. At the same time, they articulate the ambivalence of collective cultural self-representation in the context of the (post)colonial settler state and Pakeha socio-economic hegemony'.
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