The Mimicry of Men: Rugby and Masculinities in Post-colonial Fiji

By Geir Henning Presterudstuen.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

While the literature on post-colonialism and modernity in post-colonial societies is vast, perspectives on gender performances in this context remain scarce. As a part of a larger study of masculine performances in Fiji, this research paper draws upon historical material and ethnographic case studies to discuss contemporary constructions of Fijian masculinities in light of Bhabha’s notion of colonial mimicry.

By focusing on the specific case of rugby union football as a constitutive masculine practice, I will argue that contemporary Fijian masculinities are shaped by mixing ideals from the particular colonial experience of Fiji with culturally specific notions of manhood.

As a case of colonial mimicry, rugby will thus be discussed as a gendered practice through which Fijian men are producing discourses and playing out series of “ironic compromises” between an imposed, colonial masculine ideal and a notion of a Fijian masculine identity post-colonialism.

Keywords: Mimicry, Post-colonialism, Masculinity, Ethnography, Fiji, Rugby

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.237-248. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.535KB).

Geir Henning Presterudstuen

PhD Candidate (3rd year), Social Change and Social Justice Research Centre, College of Arts, School of Social Science, University of Western Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia

I am currently completing my PhD thesis on ‘Performances of Masculinity in contemporary Fiji’. The project is conducted in happy disregard of traditional academic boundaries and is drawing upon methods and methodologies from anthropology, sociology, history and development studies. I previously have a Master of Development Studies with Merit from University of Sydney, and have a long standing interest in the Pacific region, interdisciplinary work on social theory, class and gender studies. Previously published, peer-reviewed papers includes a research paper on hegemonic masculinity at the Australasian Political Science Association’s Annual Conference in 2008.

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