Appropriating spaces of leisure and creative practice
(P38)
Location F
Date and Time 11th December, 2008 at 13:30

Convenors

Tamara Kohn (University of Melbourne) tkohn@unimelb.edu.au
Adam Kaul (Augustana College) adamkaul@augustana.edu
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel explores ways in which changing ideas of self, community, city and/or nation may be formulated out of appropriations of leisure spaces and/or creative practices. As such it provides an opportunity to explore the relationships between identity, agency and appropriation.

Long Abstract

Interested in papers that are grounded in ethnography and range in their focus from the individual embodied appropriations of cultural, artistic and/or leisure practice to the corporate takeovers of touristic places, the panel will begin to address the following questions: How are hierarchies of embodied practice constructed through the appropriation of 'place-experience' or 'practice-experience'?; How are the apparently contradictory notions of appropriation and 'authenticity' expressed and manifested through discourse and practice?; How might various anticipations of place or experience affect subsequent experience and in what ways do these processes shape the appropriation of spaces of leisure and creative practice?; How do authority and power emanate from variously defined 'successful' appropriations of place and/or cultural/artistic practice?

Through empirically based examples this panel aims to explore ways in which changing ideas of self and community emerge out of the appropriations of leisure spaces and/or creative practices. It provides an opportunity to explore the relationships between identity, agency and appropriation.

Chair: Hazel Tucker

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

The village that wasn't there: the narrative appropriation of a tourist destination

Author: Adam Kaul (Augustana College) adamkaul@augustana.edu

Short Abstract

Using ethnographic accounts of a local planning process in Ireland and its implementation, this paper tracks the essentialization and appropriation of a tourist destination. I analyze the process of physical appropriation, but also the narrative appropriation of the definitions of the village, which created a village that wasn’t there before.

Abstract

Corporate and government appropriations of tourist destinations are often characterized as exploitative of local people who are often displaced, commodified and/or essentialized. But what happens when it is the local people themselves who appropriate their own spaces by transforming a collection of grassroots tourism-related commercial interests into a fully-fledged corporate-led tourism industry in a matter of only a few years? What impact does the appropriation of the physical spaces of a destination have on the narrative about what the place is 'about'? Conversely, how do changing discourses about a place change physical spaces?

In 2003, locals in the village of Doolin in County Clare, Ireland began a months-long process to create a development plan. Since then, more development has occurred than ever before in the history of the village. Using ethnographic accounts of the planning process and its subsequent implementation, this paper tracks the transformation, the essentialization, and the auto-appropriation of a tourist destination. I analyze not only the corporate appropriation of the physical spaces of the village, but more importantly, the narrative appropriation of the definitions of the place, and how contestations over those definitions literally and figuratively created a village that wasn't there before. In other words, I examine a process of discursive 'emplacement' that began long before it culminated in the concrete reality of development.

The politics of emptiness: on space, agency, and appropriation

Author: Ema Claúdia Ribeiro Pires (Universidade de Évora e CRIA) epires@uevora.pt

Short Abstract

This paper explores relations between agency, leisure practices, and processes of spatial appropriation of sites. Drawing from ethnographic research in Malacca (West Malaysia), I discuss the social construction and appropriation of space in Kampung Portugis, an urban neighborhood located in the city’s coastal area.

Abstract

Based on fieldwork in progress (2006 to 2008), this paper addresses the problem of place identities and appropriation of space in Kampung Portugis, a tourist-oriented neighbourhood facing the Straits of Malacca. Planned under colonial rule (as a low-income residential area for the minority group of Portuguese-Eurasians), Kampung Portugis has also become, in post-Colonial Malaysia, a Gazetted Heritage Site. Due to the agency of multiple actors, this spatial and symbolic appropriation for tourism and leisure purposes has been followed by a land reclamation process of the seashore, in line with the urban growth policies in the region.

In the national context, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Independence in 2007, Malaysian government launched a tourism campaign (entitled «Malaysia, truly Asia»). Among the discursive politics of representation, underlying this campaign was the multicultural context of the country, within which Malacca's Portuguese Settlement was also represented. Locally, however, the opening of a Government-owned Hotel (named after the Portuguese capital, Lisbon) has given rise to open contestation and debates over ownership and appropriation of public space. Located near the symbolic centre of community gatherings, the Hotel is perceived as a space of alterity. Using a constructivist approach, some of social and rhetorical aspects of this spatial transformation are discussed here, focusing on the role public space plays, within process of imagining local (as well as national) cultures.

Appropriations in the air: hot-air ballooning and changing tourism relationships

Author: Hazel Tucker (University of Otago) htucker@business.otago.ac.nz

Short Abstract

This paper asks how changing tourism practices and ways of appropriating space affect how tourists and people of the place consider themselves and their relation to each other. The paper addresses this question through focusing on the new tourism practice of hot-air ballooning in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.

Abstract

Urry (2005) earlier posed the question as to what the implications are of tourists' increasing visual appropriation of places. Related to that, this paper asks how changing tourism practices and ways of appropriating space affect how tourists and local people consider themselves and their relation to each other.

In tourism promotions of Cappadocia in recent years the region has become synonymous with hot-air ballooning. This recently developed tourist practice in the region has grown, in other words, to the point that ballooning is now considered necessary in order to experience the place of Cappadocia properly or 'authentically'. This paper considers not only this point in itself but also the ways in which this idea has led to tourism's new appropriation of various spaces. The balloon flights are orchestrated so that tourists perform, and in turn appropriate, village-scapes and valley-scapes in new ways. Whilst floating through air-space, for example, tourists are able to look into private courtyards and upper-storey windows that were previously inaccessible to the tourist gaze. Also, since the particular points where balloons land cannot be fully controlled, any flat space, including the market-place, a private garden or farmer's field, is always a potential landing site. Ballooning practice thus creates new ideas about the relationship between tourism and place because ballooning compounds the idea that places and people are there simply to be gazed upon and consumed by tourists and that they should always be available for appropriation through new forms of tourism consumption practice.

Waitangi Day, Okains Bay: Contest and Co-operation in the Celebration of New Zealand's National Day."

Author: Patrick McAllister (University of Canterbury) patrick.mcallister@canterbury.ac.nz

Short Abstract

Okains Bay, a small settlement near Christhurch, hosts an annual commemoration of the Treaty of Waitangi in an atmosphere of unity and co-operation. However, this is achieved by overcoming or submerging a variety of historical and contemporary challenges which revolve around questions of land and its use, an important collection of Maori artefacts, and the ritual of commemoration itself. The paper explores the negotiations and compromises that surround these three areas of contestation.

Abstract

While conflict and controversy characterise New Zealand's annual commemoration of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, an aura of calm, unity and co-operation appear to be features of a local celebration of the Treaty held at Okains Bay near Christchurch every year since 1976. On closer examination, however, this local event is marked by a variety of historical and contemporary challenges which revolve around questions of ownership and appropriation. These have to do with a number of things. There is the land on which the Treaty commemoration is held, in and around Okains Bay itself, linked to questions about who controls and has a right to utilise that land, and in what ways. Secondly, there is a significant collection of Maori artefacts housed in the local museum which hosts the commemoration, with questions about who has the right to these. Thirdly, there is the commemoration itself, and the bi-cultural celebration of identity that it entails. The paper explores the negotiations and manoeuvres that surround these three areas of contestation, and shows how they have been at times, and at least partly, resolved.

Ownership and Appropriation in Dance Creation: A Process of Trial and Error and Collaborative Minds

Author: Yoko Demelius (University of Melbourne) ydemelius@gmail.com

Short Abstract

Based on empirical data, this paper will discuss examples of ballet dancers’ creation processes and demonstrate how creative practice allows individuals to experience a strong sense of agency with shared ownership and ‘authenticity.’

Abstract

The notion of authenticity is highly elusive in a performing art production of ballet and contemporary dance. First, a process of dance creation involves multiple forces of appropriation. Although there exist designated roles of choreographers and dancers, creative ideas are collaboratively thrown and bounced back during a creation session between those who choreograph and perform in the piece. Negotiations between movements that derive from both accidental improvisation and a carefully planned framework are the core interests of dance professionals' creative practice. The experiential nature of dance creation becomes the most stimulating motivational factor for dancers' career choices.

Second, a 'completed' artwork is interpreted by individual performers' minds, and two dancers will never dance the same choreography in an identical way. Choreographers often expect that the ownership of a danced piece should 'belong to the performers.' When an interpreted artwork is blended with individual performers' characteristics and quality, the shifting of 'ownership of dance' from choreographers to dancers occurs.

Third, the ephemeral nature of performance never allows an exact replication of an artwork. Dance professionals often observe the absence of a clear notion of a 'finished and identical product' as 'the beauty of dance.'

Based on empirical data, this paper will discuss examples of dancers' creation processes and demonstrate how creative practice allows individuals to experience a strong sense of agency with shared ownership and 'authenticity.'

Voices from the margins? Women at the footy

Author: Peter Mewett (Deakin University) mewett@deakin.edu.au

Short Abstract

This paper examines the discursive practices of women Australian football supporters to show how they appropriate spaces in a male dominated sport. These spaces are gendered in contradictory ways to produce both feminine places and doxic actions reproducing masculine hegemony.

Abstract

Co-author: Kim Toffoletti

Based on focus group and single person interviews with women Australian rules football (AFL) supporters this paper explores the issue of how women articulate their support of a male dominated sport. We demonstrate that women supporters (widely overlooked in studies of sports) express their support of AFL with as much power and passion as is credited to male supporters. Moreover, women have formed about a half of AFL at-ground spectators for over a century with the historical record suggesting that the passion of their support was no less then than now. Yet to what extent have women supporters emerged from the metaphorical margins of AFL to appropriate distinctive spaces in their consumption of this sport? Using their voices and accounts of their at-ground actions, we argue that women fans perform an appropriation of supporting practice that is clearly gendered - in being a feminine discourse of support constructed by women - while giving the appearance of being genderless through their appropriation of discursive frames to legitimate their support of a male dominated sport. We conclude that in consuming football women fans perform doxic actions that reproduce, in leisure spaces, wider processes of gender inequality while, in a contradictory manner, contesting them through the appropriation of their own places in these spaces.

Appropriating Authentic Practice: Competing Discourses of 'being there', 'having been there' and 'virtually being there'

Author: Tamara Kohn (University of Melbourne) tkohn@unimelb.edu.au

Short Abstract

This paper explores how hierarchies of embodied practice and enskilment are related to relative appropriations of ‘place experience’. Through an analysis of ‘foreign’ aikido practitioners’ reflections on their training with Japanese masters and students I will explore relationships between authenticity, appropriation, place and embodiment.

Abstract

Drawing from multi-sited fieldwork (in Japan, Europe, the US and Australia) with 'foreign' (non-Japanese) martial artists, some of whom have at different times in their lives travelled to Japan to train with Japanese masters in the 'homeland' of the art of aikido, this paper discusses how hierarchies of embodied practice are constructed through discourse that includes the physical and/or metaphorical appropriation of 'place experience'. The joy and enskilment that emerges from rigorous practice for its own sake (ala Sennett's recent tome on craftsmanship) that any aikidoist can indulge in anywhere, is often qualified by reference to personal experience with particular masters and revered sites. Ideas about how practitioners' embodied appropriations affect their own senses of enskilment will be explored through a comparative analysis of these martial artists' discourses of 'being there', 'having been there', and 'virtually being there'.