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Contested Images of Place in a Multicultural Context: The Ahupuaʻa of Kanaio and Aʻuahi, Maui

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Title:Contested Images of Place in a Multicultural Context: The Ahupuaʻa of Kanaio and Aʻuahi, Maui
Authors:Bordner, Richard
Contributors:Chapman, Murray (advisor)
Geography and Environment (department)
land tenure
social aspects
human geography
show 6 moreland tenure history
cultural anthropology
show less
Date Issued:May 1995
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 1995]
Abstract:This study attempts to address an issue for long central to the geographic examination of the cultural landscape--the need for flexible theoretical constructs to incorporate the richness and diversity typical of cultural landscapes; and the inability of much of contemporary theory through its apparent mutual exclusivity, to meet these intellectual demands. This suggests the value of multidisciplinary projects to provide such scholarly diversity, but in most research situations this is not considered feasible by geographers or by social scientists in general.
An alternative is to alter the process under which theoretical constructs operate. The theory of grounded process (more usually, 'grounded theory') became an organizing structure under which conceptual constructs of diverse theoretical origin were deployed to understand a particular place. Grounded process and a series of intellectual constructs were assessed for how well they could apprehend both continuity and change in cultural landscapes over time. In particular, this research focussed on two traditional and adjacent land units (ahupuaʻa) of Kanaio and Aʻuahi on the island of Maui in Hawaiʻi, from 1400 A.D. until the present.
Primary enquiries were conducted intermittently over a three year period, 1991-1993, and information collected from numerous sources, especially several rich and unpublished archival ones. An archaeological inventory was undertaken of surface materials, contemporary land use recorded, and indepth interviews conducted with residents and other knowledgable persons. A personal diary was kept throughout the field work in Kanaio-Aʻuahi. The analysis of such a corpus of detailed material through the intellectual prisms of various theoretical constructs was the focus of the third and fourth chapters.
In prehistoric Hawaiʻi, land units (ahupuaʻa) such as Kanaio and Aʻuahi were viewed as separate and unique areas that over generations, each evolved into distinct cultural landscapes as distillations of resident world view. These cultural landscapes incorporated human modifications, the geomantic placement of religious structures, the location and underlying image of named places and, central to the process of ongoing integration and incorporation, a series of stories that linked all these attributes into a cohesive cultural image of a particular place (or land unit). As in other communities, dramatic shifts in the cultural landscapes of Kanaio and Aʻuahi occurred with the impacts of european contact and rapid socioeconomic change.
For different reasons, by the 1960s, permanent residents had abandoned these two land units for the first time in over 400 years. By the 1990s, there existed in these land units a complex interaction among several interested groups of residents, each of whom had their own clear and unique image of that particular place--in other words, a series of cultural landscapes of Kanaio and Aʻuahi operating simultaneously and within a single cultural setting.
All too frequently, past discussions of cultural landscape in human geography have been generalizations that imply a commonality of purpose and shared imagery. These reflected a stereotypic view of culture as a monolithic construct, all members of whom share a common world view, beliefs, values, and collective goals. Increasingly, geographers have become dissatisfied with the simplicity of this cultural model and its inability to apprehend the complexity of real-world problems. This study has applied a multiconceptual approach to interpreting complex, and competitive, cultural landscapes held by various groups for Kanaio and Aʻuahi. The success of an analytical procedure based on the theory of grounded process demonstrates that a scholarly alternative exists to multidisciplinary research--a strategy that may achieve many of the same goals, but only with significantly greater costs in time and professional personnel.
Description:PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 1995
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 333–360).
Pages/Duration:xvii, 360 leaves, bound : illustrations (some color), maps ; 28 cm
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Geography

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