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Subversion and Ambivalence: Pacific Islanders on New Zealand Prime Time

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Item Summary Pearson, Sarina 2009-10-30T00:23:14Z 2009-10-30T00:23:14Z 1999
dc.identifier.citation Pearson, S. 1999. Subversion and Ambivalence: Pacific Islanders on New Zealand Prime Time. The Contemporary Pacific 11 (2): 361-88.
dc.identifier.issn 1043-898X
dc.description.abstract Representations of Pacific Islanders in film and mainstream media have often been negative and marginalizing. Opportunities for Pacific Island communities to present counter images, express resistance, or enter into dialogue with these stereotypes have been limited. However, some instances of resistance have emerged recently, not on film but on broadcast television in New Zealand. Because the "small screen" is less capital-intensive than film, and because public service broadcasting provides some support for minority programming in New Zealand, television is a significant instrument through which Pacific Islanders counteract hegemony. The sketch Milburn Place was one instance in which television comedy could be potentially subversive insofar as it made Samoans "visible" on the New Zealand mediascape. It provided a forum in which to critique social inequality and racial intolerance as well as celebrate an emerging New Zealand Samoan identity. This paper discusses and documents how Milburn Place used carnivalesque strategies to disempower stereotypes and to raise serious sociopolitical issues in a "safe" arena. However, the nature of comedy, and parody in particular, ensures that multiple and contradictory interpretations occur. Ultimately, Milburn Place negotiated an ambivalent path between subversive and reactionary readings, under the exigencies imposed by commercial television and New Zealand's majority culture.
dc.language.iso en-US
dc.publisher University of Hawai'i Press
dc.publisher Center for Pacific Islands Studies
dc.subject Aotearoa New Zealand
dc.subject comedy
dc.subject Milburn Place
dc.subject Pacific Islands
dc.subject Samoans
dc.subject television
dc.subject.lcsh Oceania -- Periodicals.
dc.title Subversion and Ambivalence: Pacific Islanders on New Zealand Prime Time
dc.type Article
dc.type.dcmi Text
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1999 - Volume 11, Number 2

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