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Theorising 'Difference' in Aotearoa/New Zealand {1}

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This paper discusses theoretical and political tensions that emerged for me as a result of exploring the implications of 'positionality'. The discussion is set in debates about the differences within and between women in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Many New Zealand feminists, both Maori and Pakeha, have become concerned with the task of establishing an autonomous existence premised on unique identities. While recognising the political imperative that informs this politics and theorising, my own work has led me to theoretical understandings about the constitution of identities that could easily be construed as antagonistic to local aspirations. My dilemma, therefore, is how to produce feminist theory that compromises neither political or intellectual credibility. Positionality, I argue, involves not just positioning in a theoretical and ideological place, but also in a geographical location and, by implication, the politics of that place.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1995

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