Creating a Nation with Cloth: Women, Wealth and Tradition in by Ping-Ann Addo

By Ping-Ann Addo

Tongan ladies residing outdoors in their island fatherland create and use hand-made, occasionally hybridized, textiles to keep up and transform their cultural traditions in diaspora. vital to those traditions is an old inspiration of place of birth or country- fonua-which Tongans preserve as an anchor for contemporary nation-building. using the idea that of the "multi-territorial nation," the writer questions the proposal that dwelling in diaspora is together particular with real cultural construction and identification. The globalized state the ladies construct via gifting their barkcloth and tremendous mats, demanding situations the normative concept that countries are constantly geographically bounded or spatially contiguous. The paintings means that, opposite to popular understandings of globalization, international source flows don't continuously basically contain commodities. concentrating on first-generation Tongans in New Zealand and the relationships they forge throughout generations and through the diaspora, the e-book examines how those groups centralize the diaspora by way of innovating and adapting conventional cultural varieties in extraordinary ways.

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Extra resources for Creating a Nation with Cloth: Women, Wealth and Tradition in the Tongan Diaspora

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In this way, a person’s value or reputation can be augmented by further investment in enabling the reputations of others. Thus, individual and family reputations, which in themselves constitute value, also become capital that can be invested in a social system and made to grow. Transactions of gifts between kin groups are the very things that lead to Nation, Cloth, and Diaspora 25 the growth and accumulation of such capital. This is how gifts embody value— they represent Tongan people’s best efforts at maintaining or augmenting their kin group’s reputations.

In this way, a person’s value or reputation can be augmented by further investment in enabling the reputations of others. Thus, individual and family reputations, which in themselves constitute value, also become capital that can be invested in a social system and made to grow. Transactions of gifts between kin groups are the very things that lead to Nation, Cloth, and Diaspora 25 the growth and accumulation of such capital. This is how gifts embody value— they represent Tongan people’s best efforts at maintaining or augmenting their kin group’s reputations.

In recording life histories from my informants, I learned how they and others launched particular (pieces of) koloa on trajectories of connection between relatives located in different parts of the ethnoscape and how, sometimes, these objects reappeared in stories that they told one another, and me, about Tongans in different parts of the globe. Other details of my research methods emerge through this ethnography and weave a parallel story of how I, as a researcher, came to understand “my people” by being there—that is, anywhere they choose to be, or needed, to be—with them.

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